Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Benefits to employers outweigh enhanced depression-care costs

05.12.2006
It may be in society's and employers' best interests to offer programs that actively seek out and treat depression in the workforce, suggests an analysis funded by the National Institutes of Health's (NIH) National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

A simulation based on dozens of studies revealed that providing a minimal level of enhanced care for employees' depression would result in a cumulative savings to employers of $2,898 per 1,000 workers over 5 years.

Even though the intervention would initially increase use of mental health services, it ultimately would save employers money, by reducing absenteeism and employee turnover costs, according to Drs. Philip Wang and Ronald Kessler, of Harvard University, and colleagues, who report on their findings in the December 2006 issue of the Archives of General Psychiatry.

"Depression exacts economic costs totaling tens of billions of dollars annually in the United States, mostly from lost work productivity," noted Wang. "Yet we're not making the most of available services and treatments. Our study calculates what employers' return on their investment would be if they purchased enhanced depression treatment programs for their workers."

The analysis simulated an enhanced intervention in which master's-level health professionals managed the care of a hypothetical group of 40-year-old depressed workers diagnosed with depression. In this scenario, after assessments had detected the workers' depression, the care managers did further assessments and, when necessary, referred the workers for treatment in this scenario. The researchers gauged the cost-effectiveness for society and cost-benefit to employers, using data from existing trials and epidemiological studies, including the National Co-morbidity Survey Replication, a nationally representative household survey of 9,282 U.S. adults, conducted in 2001-2003.

The hypothetical workers were assigned to either the enhanced care or "usual care" – care-seeking and treatment patterns that would normally occur in the absence of care management. For both groups, treatment was defined in terms of visits to either a primary care physician or a psychiatrist who prescribed an antidepressant. Every three months, the hypothetical workers' illness status could change, based on depression prevalence, remission and ongoing treatment rates, and the probabilities of various outcomes, including increased risk of death by suicide.

Using results of recent primary care effectiveness trials, the researchers estimated how successful care managers might be in helping workers seek out and adhere to adequate treatment regimens. While the cost-benefit analysis from employers' perspectives weighed only monetary factors, quality of life figured into the cost-effectiveness to society calculation.

Savings from reduced absenteeism and employee turnover and other benefits of the intervention began to exceed the costs of the program by the second year, yielding a net savings of $4,633 per 1,000 workers. These savings were somewhat reduced in years 3 through 5, based on conservative assumptions that benefits wane after care management ceases, while increased use of treatments continues. The intervention became more expensive than usual care (no workplace depression management) when there was greater use of psychiatrists (instead of primary care doctors) or brand-name (instead of generic) drugs. It also ceased to be cost-saving if employees spent more than 4 hours of work time in treatment per 3-month cycle. Enhanced care had the most benefit in cases of higher-level employees who influenced the productivity of co-workers.

The intervention yielded gains when the simulated costs for care were consistent with those charged in the real world, suggesting that providing such programs for workers "appears to be a good investment of society's resources," say the researchers. It will be important to see if the findings are replicated in effectiveness trials that directly assess the intervention's impact on work outcomes, they added.

Jules Asher | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.nih.gov

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck

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: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Thanks for the memory: NIST takes a deep look at memristors

22.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

Radioactivity from oil and gas wastewater persists in Pennsylvania stream sediments

22.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Saarland University bioinformaticians compute gene sequences inherited from each parent

22.01.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks Wissenschaft & Forschung
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>