Employee Wellness Programs and Preventive Care Use

Author: Larry Chapman

Introduction: There is little research at the national level on access to employee wellness programs and the use of preventive care services. This study examined the use of seven preventive care services among U.S working adults with access to employee wellness programs.

Methods: The study population comprised 17,699 working adults aged ≥18 years, obtained from the 2015 National Health Interview Survey. Multivariate logistic regression models examined the relationship between access to employee wellness programs and use of seven preventive care services: influenza vaccination, blood pressure check, diabetes check, cholesterol check, Pap smear test, mammogram, and colon cancer screening. Data analysis began in Fall 2016.

Results: Overall, 46.6% of working adults reported having access to employee wellness programs in 2015. Working adults with access to employee wellness programs had higher odds of receiving influenza vaccination (OR¼1.57, 95% CI¼1.43, 1.72, p<0.001), blood pressure check (OR¼2.46, 95% CI¼2.17, 2.78, p<0.001), diabetes check (OR¼1.30, 95% CI¼1.12, 1.50, p<0.001), cholesterol check (OR¼1.48, 95% CI¼1.33, 1.67, p<0.001), and mammogram (OR¼1.57, 95% CI¼1.24, 1.98, p<0.001). However, there was no significant difference between access to employee wellness programs and the use of Pap smear test and colon cancer screening services.

Conclusions: Using a nationally representative sample of individuals, this study found a positive association between access to employee wellness programs and the use of preventive care services. The results support favorable policies to encourage implementing wellness programs in all worksites, especially those with <50 employees.

The types of issues addressed in this article includes:

  • Prevalence of preventive service use in a random national sample of employees.
  • Percentage of people with access to wellness programming at work.
  • Sociodemographic characteristics and their influence on preventive care use.
  • Age, race, gender and ethnicity differences in preventive care use.

Worksite Wellness professionals can use this information to:

  • Compare their own populations to national data.
  • Educate management about the likely impact of wellness programs on employee preventive care use.
  • Evaluate the incremental effects of strategies to increase preventive care use.
  • Make a stronger case for a more serious wellness program effort.

In summary, this is an authoritative national look at employees and their use of preventive care services when they have access to an employee wellness program demonstrating a significantly positive relationship.

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I hope this tool helps you reach your wellness programming goals!  Drop me a note and let me know your thoughts and if you found it to be helpful: [email protected].

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