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Improvements in an Organization's Culture of Health Reduces Workers’ Health Risk Profile and Health Care Utilization

Henke, Rachel Mosher, PhD; Head, Michael A., MS; Kent, Karen B., MPH; Goetzel, Ron Z., PhD; Roemer, Enid Chung, PhD; McCleary, Katherine, MS

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: February 2019 - Volume 61 - Issue 2 - p 96–101
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001479
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Objective: To examine changes in internal and external cultures of health scores and relate those changes to employees’ health risks, health care utilization, and costs for 21 large employers (N = 641,901).

Methods: We measured the relationship between changes in internal and external culture of health scores and changes in employee health risks, health care utilization, and costs.

Results: Improvements in a company's internal culture of health predicted lower levels of obesity, poor diet, and tobacco use but higher stress for employees reporting high baseline risk. For those not at high baseline risk, health improved for depression, alcohol consumption, and diet. Improvements in internal culture of health also led to lower prescription drug utilization.

Conclusion: Investments in internal culture of health predict improvements in some employee health risks and health care utilization.

Institute for Health and Productivity Studies, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Washington, DC (Ms Kent, Dr Goetzel, Dr Roemer, Ms McCleary); IBM Watson Health, Cambridge, MA (Dr Henke, Mr Head, Dr Goetzel).

Address correspondence to: Ron Z. Goetzel, PhD, Institute for Health and Productivity Studies, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Washington, DC; Consulting and Applied Research, IBM Watson Health, 7700 Old Georgetown Rd., Suite 650, Bethesda, MD 20814 (rgoetzel@us.ibm.com).

Funding for this study was provided by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Grant #: 74318.

Goetzel, Henke, Head, Kent, Roemer, and McCleary have no relationships/conditions/circumstances that present potential conflict of interest.

The JOEM editorial board and planners have no financial interest related to this research.

Supplemental digital contents are available for this article. Direct URL citation appears in the printed text and is provided in the HTML and PDF versions of this article on the journal's Web site (www.joem.org).

Copyright © 2019 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine