New issue brief from HealthFitness takes fresh look at recovering costs of lost productivity in the workplace

Apr 26, 2012, 13:06 ET from HealthFitness

Productivity expert Debra Lerner, Ph.D., joins four other new members on HealthFitness Science Advisory Board

MINNEAPOLIS, April 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The science of measuring—and recovering—the hidden costs of lost productivity in the workplace is advancing in ways that employers need to enhance the bottom line. A new issue brief from HealthFitness spells out a comprehensive approach to measuring and recovering the broader costs of poor health and the critical need for a healthy workforce.

Employers give keen attention to their health claims costs as a measure of employee health. But the hidden costs of lost productivity attributable to presenteeism—when health problems or their treatment interfere with the ability to perform at work—are harder to calculate and often overlooked.

"There is a connection between health and productivity, so as health improves, we expect that productivity would improve," said Dennis Richling, M.D., chief medical and wellness officer for HealthFitness. "Employers have a much greater impact if they measure first, and then focus on both: improving employee health and improving how employees are able to work. That's where we need to go long term with a vision for better health management interventions."

Richling's voice is joined in the issue brief by productivity expert Debra Lerner, Ph.D.  Lerner is a senior research scientist within the Health Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies of the Tufts Medical Center in Boston, and the director of its Program on Health, Work and Productivity.  The issue brief, "The hidden cost of poor health: Measuring—and recovering—productivity in the workplace," is available as a free download at

Lerner is also a member of HealthFitness' Science Advisory Board, a group of leading experts in health management who work with HealthFitness to advance knowledge and research around health behavior change. The panel offers guidance on the HealthFitness science and research agenda and works to advance industry knowledge relating to health behavior change among employer-based population management programs. Members of the HealthFitness Science Advisory Board are:

  • Dennis Richling, M.D., chief medical and wellness officer, HealthFitness;
  • Robert Karch, Ed.D., professor, School of Education, Teaching and Health, American University;
  • R. Craig Lefebvre, Ph.D., architect and designer social change programs, socialShift;
  • Wendy Lynch, Ph.D., senior scientist, Health as Human Capital Foundation and founder, Lynch Consulting;
  • Debra Lerner, Ph.D., MS, professor of medicine and psychiatry and senior research scientist, Institute for Clinical Research and Health Policy Studies of the Tufts Medical Center and Tufts University School of Medicine; and
  • Janet Schwartz, Ph.D., MS, assistant professor of marketing, Tulane University.

"HealthFitness is committed to the science behind health management," Richling said. "These nationally recognized experts will assist us in our drive to ensure the quality and relevance of our health management solutions for employers, health plans and especially the program participants who rely on our industry expertise."

About HealthFitness
HealthFitness, a subsidiary of The Trustmark Companies, is an award-winning, NCQA-accredited provider of health, fitness and condition management solutions. With 30-plus years of experience, HealthFitness is a proven leader and partner for infusing a culture of health. We maximize client results through personalized interaction and a science-based approach to on-site program management, engagement, prevention, and health and lifestyle management. HealthFitness provides a portfolio of solutions, including best-in-class integration, condition management, INSIGHT® Health Risk Assessments, screenings, EMPOWERED Coaching™ and fitness facility design and management. For more information on HealthFitness, visit

SOURCE HealthFitness