Marketing Workplace Chronic Disease Prevention
Employers have the incentive and the means to play a key role in chronic disease prevention.
The incentive - employers need to control the costly and growing burden of chronic diseases
among their employees. The means - employers purchase 94% of private health insurance, and
employees spend one third of their lives in the workplace, where they often eat, move,
socialize, and smoke. Over the past 5 years, the CDC and the Task Force on Community
Preventive Services have recommended a number of chronic disease prevention practices. Among
these, we have identified 17 practices that employers should adopt. These practices include
health insurance benefits, workplace policies, and workplace programs, and aim at increasing
employees' disease screening, healthy eating, influenza immunization, physical activity and
tobacco cessation. Unfortunately, employer surveys reveal low adoption of these practices.
Working with the American Cancer Society, our research team from the University of
Washington has developed and pilot-tested an innovative consulting intervention to increase
adoption of these practices. Our two-stage intervention is comprehensive yet tailored by
- markets the "business case" that employers can help control health-care costs and
productivity losses through adoption of these practices
- enables implementation by providing tools for each practice.
In this proposal, our primary aim is to test this intervention in a randomized, controlled
trial among 48 medium-sized employers with a high proportion of socioeconomically
disadvantaged employees in the Puget Sound area. Our primary outcome is change in employer
practices as measured by survey and validated by audit and contract and policy review.
Our secondary aims include:
- development and pilot-testing of an employee-level health risk behavior survey
- cost analysis and assessment of feasibility of our intervention
- assessment of employees' preference for different message sources and message appeals.
Our multidisciplinary research team includes business, communication, and public health
faculty and has more than 10 years of experience in both chronic disease prevention and
working with business. If successful, our team's approach has broad applicability to other
public health problems.
Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Open Label, Primary Purpose: Prevention
Change in employer practices in health benefits, policies and programs
15 month follow-up survey
Jeffrey R Harris, MD, MPH, MBA
University of Washington
United States: Institutional Review Board
|University of Washington||Seattle, Washington 98195|