Friday, November 21, 2008

CHS and Georgia Tech Announce Completion of Workforce Health Assessment Model

(BUSINESS WIRE)--Workforce illnesses are among the most costly expenses for employers, with billions of dollars lost each year in time, productivity and associated treatment.

Determining the most common illnesses affecting the workplace—and the best strategies to reduce these risks—is the goal of a new health assessment model developed by Comprehensive Health Services, Inc. (CHS), a leading national workforce health management company, and the Health Systems Institute (HSI) at Georgia Tech and Emory University.

A first-of-its-kind project, the Workforce Health Assessment Model (WHAM) is currently in use with select CHS clients. WHAM provides the ability to estimate various health risks in the workplace and assists in finding cost-effective strategies to reduce those risks and the burdensome long-term costs.

“By identifying the prevalence of the most expensive medical conditions faced by employees, our model enables organizations to proactively analyze the cost-effectiveness of various health programs and strategies, in particular, programs designed to prevent and/or reduce those risks,” said Leanne Metcalfe, Ph.D., a research engineer with HSI whose thesis work formed the basis for the model.

WHAM represents an opportunity not only for employers, but researchers aiming to map out research models that analyze and anticipate various trends.

“For the academic community, it provides a template of how abstract statistical research in predictive modeling meets challenges of real-life tests for its quality and performance,” said Brani Vidakovic, Professor of Bioengineering Statistics at The Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering and an HSI researcher notes. “I am pleased to see that WHAM meets these challenges and we at HSI are committed to support and further fine-tune the model.”

With the project now complete, the model will enter its second phase of development, which involves CHS and Georgia Tech researchers enhancing and refining the model. Planned improvements include incorporating richer demographic data, enabling meta-analysis by geographic region and industry type, and support for real-time updates.

“CHS is investing in this remarkable project because we believe that onsite health centers can greatly impact the cost and quality of care for employees, retirees and dependents,” said Mel Hall, CEO of CHS. “Armed with this important tool, our customers are discovering new ways to utilize preventive measures and improve the health of an employee population, such as lowering the rate of chronic diseases. We are proud to offer WHAM to our clients as we expand into our high-growth international market.”

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