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Impacts of Workplace Health Promotion and Wellness Programs on Health Care Utilization and Costs

Results From an Academic Workplace

Dement, John M. PhD; Epling, Carol MD, MSPH; Joyner, Julie BA; Cavanaugh, Kyle MEd, MBA

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: November 2015 - Volume 57 - Issue 11 - p 1159–1169
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000555
ORIGINAL ARTICLES
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Objective: This study evaluated the impacts of a long-standing workplace health promotion (HP) program on health care utilization and costs and estimated return on investment (ROI).

Methods: Analyses used a retrospective, observational cohort design based on 7 years (2005 to 2011) of health claims and HP program participation data for 3829 HP participants and 6617 controls. Inverse propensity score-weighted mixed-model regression methods were used to balance employee demographics and comorbidities by study arm.

Results: Mean monthly health care costs were $35 less for HP participants compared with controls, and results were robust based on sensitivity analyses. ROI was estimated to be $2.53 for every dollar spent on the HP program.

Conclusions: Results support a positive impact of HP program participation with regard to reduced health care utilization and costs and a positive ROI.

Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (Dr Dement, Dr Epling), Duke University Medical Center; Duke Occupational Health and Wellness (Ms Joyner); and Duke Human Resources (Mr Cavanaugh), Durham, North Carolina.

Address correspondence to: John M. Dement, PhD, Professor, Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Community and Family Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, 2200 W. Main Street, Suite 400, Durham, NC 27705 (John.Dement@Duke.edu).

This work was partially funded by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (R01-OH099468).

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2015 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine