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Are Hospital Employees Less Healthy than other U.S. Workers?


Adopt-A-Room-153According to results of a recent study this month by Truven Health Analytics, hospital employees are less healthy compared with those in the US workforce at large.

Based on the report, hospital employees had higher overall healthcare costs and consumed more medical services compared with workers in general in the US workforce. The study found that healthcare costs for hospital employees were 9 percent higher compared to the general workforce population. Hospital workers also had rates of emergency department utilization and hospital admission for a number of chronic medical ailments including congestive heart failure, hypertension, depression, coronary artery disease, diabetes, asthma as well as obesity.

Based on this study, hospital employees were also less likely to engage in wellness programs and practice preventive health measures. Hospital employees as well as their dependents repeatedly had lower compliance rates for preventive screening for cancers- colorectal, breast, and cervical- as well as lower rates for cholesterol and lipid testing compared to the general workforce.

What should be apparent to leaders of large hospital systems is the opportunity to make changes in these disturbing trends. Unfortunately, they face some unique dilemmas in implementing programs to improve employee health and wellness. According to the report, “the very nature of many hospital workers is to care for others, sometimes at the expense of themselves”. In addition, the report goes on to explain that “ hospital workers may feel that they possess the knowledge needed to improve their own health and don’t require outside assistance”. These are important issues for any large hospital system to address-and may be the key to significant cost savings in the long run.

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