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Health and Work Productivity

Making the Business Case for Quality Health Care

A recent study of productivity in the workplace revealed that workers spend on average eight percent of their workday doing nothing. This statistic takes on greater significance when we find that health problems impact employee productivity loss by an even greater percentage. In light of this discovery, a group of leading experts from the emerging field of health and productivity research argues that the expansion of health care benefits represents a substantial investment opportunity for employers.
Health and Work Productivity presents state-of-the-art health and productivity research that suggests interventions aimed at prevention, early detection, and best-practice treatment of workers along with an informed allocation strategy can produce significant cost-benefits for employers. Contributors cover all the major aspects of this new area of research: approaches to studying the effects of health on productivity, ways for employers to estimate the costs of productivity loss, concrete suggestions for future research developments in the area, and the implications of this research for public policy.


“The connection between health and productivity at work is intuitively obvious but has not been demonstrated to the satisfaction of either researchers or corporate financial officers. Ronald Kessler and Paul Stang help to bridge the usual gap between research and the marketplace with the help of a top-notch group of the best ‘real-world’ investigators obtainable—all in the cause of making the case that employee health should be treated as an investment in business performance—thus creating the new discipline of health and productivity management.”--Sean Sullivan, president and CEO, Institute for Health and Productivity Management

Sean Sullivan | Institute for Health and Productivity Management

“This work is an important step in laying both the theoretical and practical framework for health as an investment. Linking employee health status to business-relevant outcomes of absence, presenteeism and lost productivity is critical to this new paradigm.”--Thomas Parry, president, Integrated Benefits Institute


Thomas Parry | Integrated Benefits Institute

“In this current environment of sweeping health benefit reductions and employee cost shifting, Ronald Kessler, Paul Stang, and others are in search of a different path forward. In this volume, contributors make the compelling case for Corporate America to think about health care as an investment to be managed rather than a cost to be controlled. A two-step strategy is proposed: measure the direct and indirect costs of employee illness and then target needed investments in workforce health and productivity programs. The employer community would be wise to follow this prescription starting by reading this important contribution to the field of worksite health and productivity.”--Andrew Webber, president and CEO, National Business Coalition on Health

Andrew Webber | National Business Coalition on Health

“In this original work, contributors provide motivation for a change in perspective from the provision of medical care as a benefit only to one that is a tool for investing in worker productivity. They then provide the substantial research necessary to set up such an investment and monitoring system.”<Jody Sindelar, School of Public Health, Yale University>

Jody Sindelar | School of Public Health, Yale University

Table of Contents

1. Intersecting Issues in the Evaluation of Health and Work Productivity
Ronald C. Kessler and Paul E. Stang
Part One - Approaches to Studying the Effects of Health on Worker Productivity
2. Linking Administrative Claim Data with Archival Productivity Measures to Inform Employer Decision-Making
Paul E. Greenberg and Howard G. Birnbaum
3. Simulation for Measurement of Occupational Performance
Jonathan Howland, Thomas W. Mangione, and Angela Laramie
4. Measuring Heath-Related Work Productivity with Self-Reports
Debra J. Lerner and Jennifer Lee
5. Use of the Experience Sampling Method in Studies of Illness and Work Performance
Philip S. Wang and Nancy A. Nicolson
6. Estimating the Dollar Costs of Productivity Losses Due to Illness: An Application of O*NET
Lance Anderson, Scott H. Oppler, and Andrew Rose
7. Labor-Market Consequences of Health Impairments
Thomas Deleire and Willard G. Manning
Part Two - Stakeholder Perspectives
8. Overcoming Barriers to Managing Health and Productivity in the Workplace
Dennis P. Scanlon
9. Investing in Health to Boost Employee Productivity: The Employer’s Perspective
James F. Murray, Sean Nicholson, Mark Pauly, and Marc L. Berger
10. The Role of Health Plans in Linking Quality of Care to Labor Outcomes: Challenges and Opportunities
Arne Beck
11. The Pharmaceutical Industry and Productivity Research
Christopher J. Evans
12. A Regulatory Perspective on Productivity Claims: Implications for Future Productivity Research
Paul E. Stang, Paul E. Greenberg, Howard G. Birnbaum, Ronald C. Kessler, Lynn Hoffman, and Mei-Sheng Duh
13. Investing in Health to Promote Human Capital in Developing Countries: The Importance of Productivity and Health to the World Bank
Harvey Whiteford
Part Three - Conclusion
14. Future Directions in Health and Work Productivity Research
Ronald C. Kessler and Paul E. Stang
Author Index
Subject Index

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