Purpose – Health is inextricably linked to the productivity and therefore the economic viability of individuals, populations and nations. A global strategy for health enhancement would yield a multitude of benefits for humankind. The root cause of the escalating healthcare cost crisis is driven by a health crisis from a growing burden of health risks that are leading to an expanding burden of chronic illness yielding an unsustainable economic burden. This paper aims to present a general review of the business value of health and the power of prevention in addressing solutions for managing total health and productivity costs. Design/methodology/approach – The paper reviews the scientific and economic business case for investing in health enhancement. Findings – Highlights of employer case studies and published research demonstrate that comprehensive, integrated population health enhancement can lower health risks, reduce the burden of illness, improve productivity and lower total health‐related costs. The dominant components of the solution are a substantial commitment to prevention and a culture of health rather than just more treatment and cure. In addition there needs to be a focus on the quality and effectiveness of care rather than just the quantity and efficiency of the care. Originality/value – The healthcare cost conundrum can be impacted by reducing the burden of chronic illness and health risk in populations, thereby improving the health and productivity of the workforce, the health of the bottom line for engaged employers and ultimately the health of a nation's economy. Ultimately, the broader value proposition of integrated population health and productivity enhancement should drive this strategy by leveraging the value of health and the power of prevention.
International Journal of Workplace Health Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jun 27, 2008
Keywords: Personal health; Public health; Employee productivity