Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Employee wellness plans should include entire company, not just sick workers

29.09.2010
A study of employees at a west Michigan hospital showed some of the most unhealthy workers that University of Michigan researchers had ever seen.

But in four years, the workplace wellness plan at Allegiance Health in Jackson, Mich. had fueled some of the biggest improvements in employee health that those same researchers had ever witnessed.

The researchers were studying the hospital system to evaluate the health risk changes in employees in the four years after Allegiance implemented a workplace wellness program. The "It's Your Life" program was unique because it included all employees, not just unhealthy ones, said Douglas Wright, a researcher at the U-M School of Kinesiology Health Management Research Center, and lead study author.

Most wellness programs start with a health assessment and only the employees who meet pre-determined benchmarks of poor health qualify for additional assistance, Wright said.

It's Your Life began in 2002, and Allegiance offered employees $200, spread over 24 paychecks, to take a health risk appraisal, be screened, attend three counseling sessions and complete three health learning modules. In subsequent years, the company lowered the incentive to $190 but gave it to employees in the form of a gift card that was filled with small amounts of money each time the employee completed another requirement. Having immediate access to the money earned, rather than waiting for it to show up in a paycheck, appeared to be associated with increased participation.

Researchers collected data from three different employee groups based on the number of times each participated. Over four years, participation increased and the number of high risk employees decreased in all groups, Wright said. The yearly participation rate rose from 38 percent the first year to 77 percent by the fourth year. After four years, the four-time participants decreased in 10 of 15 health risks, the two-time participants decreased in nine of 15 risks, and the one-timers decreased in 12 of the 15 risks.

"In the four-time participation group, the percent low risk people went from 51 percent to 64 percent, that's a huge jump," said Wright. "It's a big deal when you see that much improvement."

Allegiance started with 51 percent of its employees classified as low risk, which is much lower than normal, and 19 percent as high risk, which is above average, Wright said. The number of high risk workers fell to about 12 percent over the four years. Studies have shown that employees who are high risk cost more in healthcare and lost productivity.

One of the reasons the program was so successful was because it was comprehensive, said Dee Edington, director of the HMRC. Edington has appointments in the School of Kinesiology and the School of Public Health.

In other words, the program helped keep healthy workers from getting sick because it included them in the wellness plan, he said. "It's a lot cheaper to keep employees low risk than to move them from high risk to low risk," Edington said.

The project was designed to be implemented in three stages. The first stage uses Allegiance as the pilot to test the effectiveness of the wellness program. The second phase expands It's Your Life to six of the largest employers in the area, and the third stage expands the program to all employers in the county and any community organizations that want to participate.

A cost analysis is pending to see if the savings are great enough to justify the incentives and the cost of the wellness programs, said Wright.

The study appears in the Journal of Health & Productivity.

The University of Michigan School of Kinesiology continues to be a leader in the areas of prevention and rehabilitation, the business of sport, understanding lifelong health and mobility, and achieving health across the lifespan through physical activity. The School of Kinesiology is home to the Athletic Training, Movement Science, Physical Education, and Sport Management academic programs—bringing together leaders in physiology, biomechanics, public health, urban planning, economics, marketing, public policy, and education and behavioral science.

Laura Bailey | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.kines.umich.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Fraunhofer ISE Pushes World Record for Multicrystalline Silicon Solar Cells to 22.3 Percent

25.09.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Usher syndrome: Gene therapy restores hearing and balance

25.09.2017 | Health and Medicine

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>