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Health Care Cost | Work-Related Musculoskeletal Disorders (WMSDs) Evaluation Measures

Health care costs measures for WMSD prevention1-3

In contrast with the worker productivity costs described above (e.g., absenteeism), health care costs are measures of the direct medical expenses of providing employee health care and preventive health programs.

Baseline

  • Determine costs and use for health care, such as benefits, disability, health care costs, counseling, and treatment (e.g., medications) for WMSD related illness and disability
    • It is difficult to attribute the effects of WMSDs directly to the costs of health care because it may be unclear if the work environment and performance of work contributed significantly to the condition; and/or the condition was made worse or persisted longer due to work conditions. However, tracking this information over time gives the program evaluator an indication of the WMSD prevention program’s impact
    • Note: For assessing the burden of arthritis using health care claims data, the CDC Arthritis Program recommends using the case definition and ICD-9 codes of the National Arthritis Data Workgroup labeled “arthritis and other rheumatic conditions”
  • Measure the number of worker reports of aches, pains and WMSDs in occupational clinics and other settings
  • Determine health care use and costs of employee participants before and after a WMSD prevention program such as training or changes in shift schedules

Process

  • Periodic repeats of baseline measures

Outcome

  • Assess changes in health care use and costs from baseline
  • Assess changes in worker reports of aches, pains and WMSDs in occupational clinics and other settings
  • Compare health care use and costs of employee participants before and after a WMSD prevention program such as training or changes in shift patterns

References

1.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Framework for program evaluation in public health. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 1999;48(No. RR-11): 1-40.

2.  Goetzel RZ, Ozminkowski RJ. Program evaluation. In: O’Donnell MP, editor. Health promotion in the workplace, 3rd edition. Albany, NY: Delmar Thomson Learning; 2002. p 116-165.

3.  Weeks JL, Levy BS, Wagner GR, editors. Preventing occupational disease and injury. 2nd ed. Washington DC: American Public Health Association; 2005.

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