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The Novartis Health Index: A Method for Valuing the Economic Impact of Risk Reduction in a Workforce

Kelly, Emily MA; Carls, Ginger S. PhD; Lenhart, Greg MS; Mauceri, Edward MD; Columbus, Daniel MBA; Cavuoti, Ann CEBS; Goetzel, Ron Z. PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: May 2010 - Volume 52 - Issue 5 - p 528-535
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e3181dbe339
Original Articles

Objectives: To develop a calculator that measures the potential cost impact of changes in health risks and presents results graphically.

Methods: Demographic and health risk data for Novartis employees were input into a calculator that estimated employer medical care, short-term disability, absenteeism, and presenteeism costs associated with risk prevalence, based on a previous cross-sectional analysis of the association between risks and costs. Estimated costs were presented as a relative score, the Novartis Health Index, which is a measure of the overall costs associated with the risk profile of a population of interest.

Results: The population of Novartis employees had an index score of 81.5 (out of 100), indicating a relatively healthy risk profile, and baseline annual costs of $9619 per employee. Risk reduction of 1% and 10% for tobacco, alcohol use, and emotional health risks had the potential to generate annual savings of $91,500 and $915,000, respectively.

Conclusions: The Novartis Health Index framework allows employers to track performance relative to health risk management using a single, accessible, user-friendly measure.

From Thomson Reuters (Ms Kelly, Dr Carls, Mr Lenhart, Dr Goetzel), Washington, DC; Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation (Dr Mauceri, Mr Columbus, Ms Cavuoti), East Hanover, NJ; and Institute for Health and Productivity Studies (Dr Goetzel), Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University, Washington, DC.

The opinions expressed in this paper are the authors' and do not necessarily represent the opinions of Thomson Reuters, Emory University, or Novartis Pharmaceuticals.

Address correspondence to: Ron Z. Goetzel, PhD, Institute for Health and Productivity Studies, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University and Consulting and Applied Research, Thomson Reuters, 4301 Connecticut Avenue, NW Suite 330, Washington, DC 20008; E-mail:

©2010The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine