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 Reusable carbon nanotubes could be the water filter of the future, says RIT study
30.03.2017 | Rochester Institute of Technology

nachricht Pan-European study on “Smart Engineering”
30.03.2017 | IPH - Institut für Integrierte Produktion Hannover gGmbH

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: A Challenging European Research Project to Develop New Tiny Microscopes

The Institute of Semiconductor Technology and the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, both members of the Laboratory for Emerging Nanometrology (LENA), at Technische Universität Braunschweig are partners in a new European research project entitled ChipScope, which aims to develop a completely new and extremely small optical microscope capable of observing the interior of living cells in real time. A consortium of 7 partners from 5 countries will tackle this issue with very ambitious objectives during a four-year research program.

To demonstrate the usefulness of this new scientific tool, at the end of the project the developed chip-sized microscope will be used to observe in real-time...

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

'On-off switch' brings researchers a step closer to potential HIV vaccine

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

Penn studies find promise for innovations in liquid biopsies

30.03.2017 | Health and Medicine

An LED-based device for imaging radiation induced skin damage

30.03.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>