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!
The personality factor: How to foster the sharing of research data
06.09.2017 | ZBW – Leibniz-Informationszentrum Wirtschaft
Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung
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...
For the first time, physicists have successfully imaged spiral magnetic ordering in a multiferroic material. These materials are considered highly promising candidates for future data storage media. The researchers were able to prove their findings using unique quantum sensors that were developed at Basel University and that can analyze electromagnetic fields on the nanometer scale. The results – obtained by scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics, the Swiss Nanoscience Institute, the University of Montpellier and several laboratories from University Paris-Saclay – were recently published in the journal Nature.
Multiferroics are materials that simultaneously react to electric and magnetic fields. These two properties are rarely found together, and their combined...
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems Holding GmbH about commercial use of a multi-well tissue plate for automated and reliable tissue engineering & drug testing.
MBM ScienceBridge GmbH successfully negotiated a license agreement between University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) and the biotech company Tissue Systems...
Pathogenic bacteria are becoming resistant to common antibiotics to an ever increasing degree. One of the most difficult germs is Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a...
Scientists from the MPI for Chemical Energy Conversion report in the first issue of the new journal JOULE.
Cell Press has just released the first issue of Joule, a new journal dedicated to sustainable energy research. In this issue James Birrell, Olaf Rüdiger,...
12.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
06.09.2017 | Event News
19.09.2017 | Materials Sciences
19.09.2017 | Earth Sciences
19.09.2017 | Materials Sciences