Synergies at Work: Realizing the Full Value of Health Investment

Published

According to this NPC-sponsored research, employers need a sound understanding of the value that a healthy employee population brings to their businesses. Synergies at Work: Realizing the Full Value of Health Investments notes that the benefits of employee health include the value of reduced absence and improved workplace productivity, and employers that recognize the full range of benefits can maximize the value of their investment in making employees healthier.

This new research was conducted by A. Mark Fendrick, MD, co-director of the University of Michigan Center for Value-Based Insurance Design (V-BID Center), and Kimberly Jinnett, PhD, research director, and Thomas Parry, PhD, president, both of the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI). With the health care reform law enacted last year, employers have important decisions to make about how they will support health care benefits for their employees. The authors of this paper suggest that employers’ recognition of the value of a healthy workforce will be critical in making those decisions.

The paper calls upon employers to shift their focus from “How much?” to “What value are we getting for our money?” It describes three objectives for the research:

  • broaden the discussion from a focus limited to the cost of health services/products to one that encompasses the value of improved health;
  • propose the development of a conceptual model that includes comprehensive measures for defining and quantifying value and is inclusive of all relevant outcomes; and
  • sound a call to action in support of better evidence collection in order to capture the real value of interventions for employees and employers.

The report also includes a series of eight case studies that illustrate how individual employers are recognizing the concept of the value of health. These employers have implemented value-based programs that encompass management and care delivery for chronic conditions as well health and wellness strategies. Evaluation of these programs includes workplace absence and productivity outcomes that help to characterize the full value for employers.

An executive summary (PDF) and slide deck (PDF) are also available. Watch the brief video interview of Dr. Parry discussing the study.