TORONTO, Jan. 30, 2018 /CNW/ - Starting February 1, employers across Canada can use a free online tool to calculate the costs of employees' unhealthy behaviours, such as physical inactivity and smoking. To be launched by BestLifeRewarded Innovations and the Economic Club of Canada during a panel discussion that will examine the economic burden of modifiable health risk factors, the tool at www.healthy-economics.com also predicts the savings that would result from just a small reduction in a workforce's health-risk factor profile—information that could be used to make the financial case for wellness programming in the workplace.
The healthy-economics.com tool was designed to serve as a customized report card because it takes into account the employer's size, geography and the approximate breakdown between male and female employees. For example, the tool tells us that a workforce of 600 in Ontario, of whom 60% are male, currently generates more than $1.4 million annually in costs, based on prevalence rates for five health risk factors that commonly lead to chronic diseases. Those risk factors are: tobacco smoking, excess weight, physical inactivity, low fruit and vegetable consumption, and use of alcohol.
The tool then contrasts the costs of doing nothing against the savings to be gained by doing something to support healthier behaviours among employees. If this Ontario employer were to help reduce the prevalence of these risk factors in its workforce by just two percent, for example, total direct and indirect costs would decrease an estimated $20,000 in the first year. After three years, the healthcare system—and the employer—would benefit from more than $124,000 in cumulative savings.
Healthy-economics.com was developed by BestLifeRewarded Innovations, a national provider of a health-behaviour change program, and draws from years of research originally conducted for governments and non-profit organizations by Dr. Hans Krueger, a health economist and epidemiologist based in Vancouver. When BestLifeRewarded approached Krueger about repositioning the findings for employers, he did not hesitate.
"Because of all the modelling work we've already done in this area, it was really quite straightforward to put it into a context that's more understandable for employers," says Krueger. "These are risk factors that affect us all, and employers bear an important part of these costs in terms of drug benefit claims, lost productivity, absenteeism and disability leaves. This tool translates all of that into concrete numbers based on defined employee populations."
Even more important is the potential to avert costs, and BestLifeRewarded encourages employers to use the free tool to help set corporate objectives. "An employer can play with the numbers and see that even a small reduction in risk factors can make a big difference. After the employer implements a proven health and wellness intervention that measures results, they can also see the cumulative reductions in these risk factors and the financial impact, year after year," says Susanne Cookson, president of BestLifeRewarded.
Rob MacIsaac, president and CEO of Hamilton Health Sciences, looks forward to using the tool as part of the organization's existing wellness programming for its 11,500 employees. "Many US-based studies have demonstrated positive returns on investment for wellness initiatives, but finding Canadian data has been challenging. We are very excited to learn about the healthy-economics initiative and its ability to help quantify both the near- and long-term return on investment for our healthy living programs," says MacIsaac.
The focus on preventing illness is also appealing, he notes. "This tool provides employers with a fantastic opportunity to identify a tangible return for disease prevention, versus just chronic disease management."
About BestLifeRewarded Innovations www.bestliferewardedinnovations.com
BestLifeReward Innovations is passionate about getting Canada healthy. BestLifeRewarded is a proven and innovative platform that combines behaviour modification strategies with exciting incentives to drive action. Our customizable integration offers a range of flexible tools—from turnkey solutions to specialized components that can blend seamlessly with employers' existing wellness programs.
Susanne Cookson, President
905.336.1000 x 103 Susanne@bestliferewarded.com
About Economic Club of Canada www.economicclub.ca
The Economic Club of Canada is the podium of record for economic issues affecting Canadians. BestLifeRewarded is one of the Economic Club's sponsors in the health care space, and in 2016 the two organizations entered into strategic partnership to produce and promote healthy economics.com.
Rhiannon Trail, President and CEO
Additional Useful Facts – For a fact sheet about health risk factors in Canada and more details about Healthy-Economics.com, contact Karen Welds, email@example.com
Editorial Images – For electronic files of logos and additional images, contact Karen Welds, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE BestLifeRewarded Innovations Inc.
For further information: Susanne Cookson, President, 905.336.1000 x 103 Susanne@bestliferewarded.com