Institute will study how worker health affects productivity and profit
ITHACA, N.Y. -- How do the health and well-being of employees drive business productivity and profitability? How do depression, stress, musculoskeletal disorders, migraines, obesity and pain affect productivity, and what kinds of management practices can help? Are they cost effective? Does investing in people or technology reap larger productivity payoffs?
These kinds of questions are the focus of a new research center, the Cornell University Institute for Health and Productivity Studies (IHPS), which has been established in collaboration with MEDSTAT, a health-information company headquartered in Ann Arbor, Mich.
"By conducting cutting-edge empirical research with academic faculty on the relationship between employee health and well-being and work-related productivity, the institute will help inform decision makers in both the private and public health sectors on these issues," says Ron Z. Goetzel, currently vice president of consulting and applied research for MEDSTAT, who will be the institute's first director.
"The institute also will assess the cost burdens of health-risk factors and common disease conditions and the impact of health and productivity management programs on medical outcomes and productivity," Goetzel says.
The new institute is part of the Cornell Center for Policy Research (CCPR) in Washington, D.C., a collaborative effort of Cornell's vice provost for research, the New York State College of Human Ecology and the New York State School of Industrial and Labor Relations, both at Cornell.
"A central mission of the institute is to bridge the gap among academia, the business community and health-care-policy world, bringing academic resources into policy debates and day-to-day business decisions, and bringing health and productivity management issues into academia," explains David C. Stapleton, director of CCPR. The new institute will seek funding from the health-care sector, including pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, health plans, pharmacy benefit management companies, nonprofit foundations and governmental agencies. Its research will include collaborations between Cornell and MEDSTAT staff who have been conducting health and productivity research over the past decade.
Laurence J. Hagerty, MEDSTAT's president and chief executive officer, says, "Our collaboration with Cornell provides an excellent opportunity to expand our collective research efforts in the area of health and productivity management. This will, in turn, better inform decision makers throughout the healthcare industry."
"As such, the institute will bring together the best of both worlds -- the intellectual leadership of Cornell faculty with the practical experience of applied researchers at MEDSTAT," says Stapleton.
MEDSTAT, part of The Thomson Corp., is a health-information company that provides decision support systems, market intelligence, benchmark databases and research for managing the purchase, administration and delivery of health services and benefits. It serves more than 1,000 organizations, including pharmaceutical and other companies, government organizations, health plans and insurance companies.
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