Health, United States, 2017 with Special Feature on Mortality

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What is this about?

Author:  Larry Chapman.  This annual government report of the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) provides the most recent and complete summary information on the major health trends affecting all Americans.  It is a handy guide for those of us who periodically want to provide some perspective to management and others on the health of employees and their family members.

This 87-page report contains 114 detailed trend tables that highlight major trends in health statistics in the four areas: health status and determinants, health care utilization, health care resources, and health care expenditures. The Chartbook section includes 30 useful figures (you can easily lift out of the document) reflecting these trends as well as a special section on our changing national experience with population mortality.

Particularly useful information in the report includes data on:

  • Major health risk prevalence for use in analyzing HRA and health survey aggregate data
  • Major chronic disease prevalence for similar comparisons
  • Levels of health care service utilization for comparison with claims data
  • Health care expenditure levels for comparison with claims data
  • Mortality associated with major risk factors
  • Similar life expectancy comparisons

Why is this important?

This major government report consolidates the major health statistics for our nation.  It provides a large number of useful comparisons and can be used to contrast the health and health care use patterns of our employee population with national data.  State and selected regional data is also available from NCHS.

Another reason this report is important is because it provides us with the trends that are affecting all these health issues for our own organizational planning. These trends enable us to make stronger cases for increased funding of employee wellness efforts and for selected changes in our programming strategies.

An additional reason that the data in this report is important is that it helps enhance our own technical credibility with senior management.

How can it be used?

Here’s what you could do with this document:

  • First, spend some time looking it over to fully absorb the significance of the categories of data and the implications of the data.  (Page 10 starts the index with embedded links to tables and figures)
  • Next, determine when and where you might use the data with senior managers, mid-level managers, advisory group members and wellness champions.
  • Use the data to make a pitch for increased budget or movement to a Result-Driven program model.
  • Think about how the data might fit into periodic briefings with management.
  • Try putting some of the data from your own program alongside some of these key metrics from the report to help managers understand the program’s potential impact.
  • Use this data in your program evaluation efforts to provide comparison points.

In summary, this 87-page report can be used to help your senior management and others to understand what national trends are affecting the health of your workforce and to emphasize the importance of your wellness program in countering the negative trends.

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