Four-year review of presenteeism data among employees of a large United States health care system: A retrospective prevalence study

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Human Resources for Health


Background: Historically, in an effort to evaluate and manage the rising cost of healthcare employers assess the direct cost burden via medical health claims and measures that yield clear data. Health related indirect costs are harder to measure and are often left out of the comprehensive overview of health expenses to an employer. Presenteeism, which is commonly referred to as an employee at work who has impaired productivity due to health considerations, has been identified as an indirect but relevant factor influencing productivity and human capitol. The current study evaluated presenteeism among employees of a large United States health care system that operates in six locations over a four-year period and estimated loss productivity due to poor health and its potential economic burden. Methods: The Health-Related Productivity Loss Instrument (HPLI) was included as part of an online Health Risk Appraisal (HRA) administered to employees of a large United States health care system across six locations. A total of 58299 HRAs from 22893 employees were completed and analyzed; 7959 employees completed the HRA each year for 4years. The prevalence of 22 specific health conditions and their effects on productivity areas (quantity of work, quality of work, work not done, and concentration) were measured. The estimated daily productivity loss per person, annual cost per person, and annual company costs were calculated for each condition by fitting marginal models using generalized estimating equations. Intra-participant agreement in reported productivity loss across time was evaluated using Κ statistics for each condition. Results: The health conditions rated highest in prevalence were allergies and hypertension (high blood pressure). The conditions with the highest estimated daily productivity loss and annual cost per person were chronic back pain, mental illness, general anxiety, migraines or severe headaches, neck pain, and depression. Allergies and migraines or severe headaches had the highest estimated annual company cost. Most health conditions had at least fair intra-participant agreement (Κ≥0.40) on reported daily productivity loss. Conclusions: Results from the current study suggested a variety of health conditions contributed to daily productivity loss and resulted in additional annual estimated costs for the health care system. To improve the productivity and well-being of their workforce, employers should consider presenteeism data when planning comprehensive wellness initiatives to curb productivity loss and increase employee health and well-being during working hours.



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