More Confirmation Employee Health Programs Boost Productivity

Health promotion programs also save employers money, a study in the October issue of ACOEM's Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine confirms.

Employee wellness and health promotion programs are more important than ever, both because the new Affordable Care Act includes incentives for them and because they provide huge savings. A study published in the October 2013 issue of ACOEM's Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine is further evidence of the payoffs.

The study involves a program in which wellness coaches provided telephone support to help employees address health problems or risk factors. The program cut lost work time by about 10.3 hours per year and saved an average of about $350 for each participating employee, according to ACOEM. The study used measures of lost time that included absenteeism as well as presenteeism.

"Participating in health promotion programs can help improve productivity levels among employees and save money for their employers," said Rebecca J. Mitchell, MPH, who produced the study with colleagues at OptumHealth of Golden Valley, Minn.

She said the results "add to the growing body of evidence that investing in a healthy workforce can help to increase productivity levels of employees," adding that "it takes time and commitment for program participation to yield success."

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