dataThe American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM) and the HCMS Group have announced an important expansion to their “Blueprint for Health” — a free internet-based calculating tool that helps employers better comprehend and analyze the impact of medical costs, absence, and work impairment among their employees. An understanding of the total costs of poor health and the benefits of good health can help employers of all sizes make better decisions that can improve the overall health of their employee population and the business performance of their companies.

Introduced in 2007, the Blueprint for Health (BFH) allows employers to enter their own original data into an on-line estimating tool and receive free information that calculates health and productivity impacts on their employees.

ACOEM and HCMS announced that the BFH, which currently includes information on the impact of several important health conditions such as diabetes and hypertension, will be expanded to incorporate information on chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Employers who use the tool will be able to estimate impacts of these diseases on their workforce based on 2011 cost levels.

The 2011 cost figures and the COPD data will be available late this summer. The addition of these new features has been made possible by sponsorship from the global health company Boehringer Ingelheim.

“Too often, employers make decisions about worker health with incomplete information about the total health and productivity costs of illness,” said Wendy Lynch, PhD, senior scientist for HCMS. “We are pleased to partner with ACOEM to launch a new version of the Blueprint that both updates and enhances the scope of the estimation tool using an integrated dataset from over a million workers. Having this type of information in the hands of decision-makers helps companies enhance both the heath and productivity of workers.”

Employers using the BFH enter basic information about the employee population and the calculator then estimates the costs, days absent, and productivity loss that are associated with several different diseases. In addition to the new diseases, the BFH currently includes information on diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, and insomnia.

Models based on actual multi-employer data are used to estimate total costs based on condition prevalence, age, gender, geographic location, exempt/non-exempt status, and deductible level. The BFH also illustrates the portion of people in each cost level who can be expected to migrate to higher or lower cost levels.

“The Blueprint is the only such tool that goes beyond estimates of cost averages by providing employers with the ability to see distributions of cost, absence time, and productivity, as well as the ability to estimate migration in and out of a high risk status,” added Nathan Kleinman, PhD, director of research services for HCMS. “This allows for more targeted interventions offered to the employees who need help the most.”

“One of the great benefits of the BFH is that it is valuable to employers with or without expertise in data analysis, and employers who don’t track health and productivity in a formal way,” said Barry S. Eisenberg, ACOEM’s Executive Director. “Making this free tool available to employers nationally helps ACOEM achieve its goal of promoting healthier workplaces everywhere.”

To access the Blueprint for Health, visit For more information, call 847-818-1800.