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MBGH, IBI working on productivity measurement tool


SAN FRANCISCO--A new tool that will enable employers to better measure the costs of chronic health conditions on productivity, absenteeism and presenteeism is being developed by Harvard Medical School researcher Dr. Ronald Kessler in partnership with the Integrated Benefits Institute and the Midwest Business Group on Health.

HPQ-Select, which can be used as a stand-alone survey or incorporated into health risk assessment questionnaires, is a new, simplified version of the Health and Work Performance Questionnaire Dr. Kessler created to collect information on workplace-related costs of chronic health problems. But HPQ-Select will go a step further, enabling employers to use health-related lost productivity information to target their wellness and/or disease management programs, according to Larry Boress, president and chief executive officer of the Chicago-based MBGH, in a press release announcing the collaboration.

"Lost productivity is a very real cost that is difficult to quantify," David Sensibaugh, director of integrated health at Eastman Chemical in Kingsport, Tenn., said in the press release. "This new tool will enable an employer to obtain a good estimate of the cost associated with lost productivity due to health-related reasons. More importantly, the estimated productivity cost can be obtained quickly without having to conduct a lengthy survey of your employee population."

The MBGH and a committee of its employer members will provide employer input in the development of the HPQ-Select tool and guidance on the reporting structure. The coalition also will distribute the tool to employers, employer health care organizations and other entities interested in health and productivity management.

The San Francisco-based Integrated Benefits Institute will make HPQ-Select part of its health and productivity toolset, providing summary reports on health and productivity to its member companies.

HPQ-Select is expected to become available by late 2007 or early 2008.