Diabetes Evaluation Measures
Once a company has conducted assessment and planning for type 2 diabetes prevention and control programs, and developed the specific tasks of implementation for these programs, it is time to develop the evaluation plan. This evaluation plan should be in place before any program implementation has begun.
Metrics for worker productivity, health care costs, heath outcomes, and organizational change allow measurement of the beginning (baseline), middle (process), and results (outcome) of workplace health programs. It is not necessary to use all these metrics for evaluating programs. Some information may be difficult or costly to collect, or may not fit the operational structure of a company. These lists are only suggested approaches that may be useful in designing an evaluation plan.
These measures are designed for employee group assessment. They are not intended for examining an individual’s progress over time, which would raise concerns of employee confidentiality. For employer purposes, individual-level measures should be collected anonymously and only reported (typically by a third party administrator) in the aggregate, because the company’s major concerns are overall changes in productivity, health care costs, and employee satisfaction.
In general, data from the previous 12 months will provide sufficient baseline information and can be used in establishing the program goals and objectives in the planning phase, and in assessing progress toward goals in the evaluation phase. Ongoing measurements every 6 to 12 months after programs begin are usually appropriate measurement intervals, but measurement timing should be adapted to the expectations of the specific program.
Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90% to 95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes, and is associated with older age, obesity, family history of diabetes, history of gestational diabetes, impaired glucose metabolism, physical inactivity, and race/ethnicity.
Type 2 diabetes develops slowly over months and years, so screening programs for early detection and treatment are important in employee populations. Screening for type 2 diabetes allows the disease to be diagnosed and treated before it causes certain complications such as heart disease, stroke, blindness, kidney disease, neurologic disease, and leg ulcers and amputations.
Lifestyle interventions such as increased physical activity and weight reduction can also delay the development of diabetes. Obesity is a major risk factor for type 2 diabetes, so workplace emphasis on nutrition and physical activity are crucial ways employers can reduce the frequency and the effects of type 2 diabetes in their workforce.
Diabetes is among the top 10 most costly physical health conditions for employers in various industries in terms of direct medical expenditures, absenteeism, short term disability, and presenteeism. People diagnosed with diabetes incur average medical expenditures of $11,744 per year in 2007 which are on average 2-3 times higher than expenditures for persons without diabetes.1
1. American Diabetes Association. Economic costs of diabetes in the U.S. in 2007. Diabetes Care. 2008; 31(3): 1-20.