Cover: The return of investment for preventive healthcare programmes

The return of investment for preventive healthcare programmes

A calculation framework for GSK's Partnership for Prevention (P4P)

Published May 22, 2017

by Martin Stepanek, Marco Hafner, Jirka Taylor, Sarah Grand-Clement, Christian Van Stolk

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Research Questions

  1. What are the drivers of a successful workplace health promotion programme?
  2. What are the current health and wellbeing interventions offered by pharmaceutical companies?
  3. What is the best way to work out the return on investment of workplace health promotion programmes?
  4. What is the return on investment of GSK's P4P programme?

Workplace preventive health initiatives are growing in number and scope around the world, as employers increasingly realise the link between employee health and wellbeing and company's performance. The simple logic is that effective investment in health and wellbeing can save a company more than it spends on the interventions through reduced productivity losses due to lower absenteeism and presenteeism, and lower healthcare spending overall.

Multiple health promotion programmes are taking place in a number of pharmaceutical companies. In general, the goal of these programme are to improve the health and wellbeing of employees by: providing healthcare support; providing healthy lifestyle alternatives; developing a workplace culture that promotes and provides support for healthy living; and, considering the mental health needs of employees.

GSK's Partnership for Prevention (P4P) aims to provide all GSK employees and their benefits-eligible dependants access to preventive healthcare services. Some GSK employees work in countries where publicly funded preventive healthcare may be unavailable or limited and this is where P4P bridges a gap. Some of the interventions, particularly those aimed at smoking cessation or lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, go beyond a simple substitution of necessary preventive healthcare services and aim to improve employees' wellbeing, as well as preventing possible future health complications.

The report outlines the drivers of successful workplace health promotion programmes, provides an overview of health and wellbeing interventions offered by pharmaceutical companies, and develops a framework to analyse the return on investment of such projects, applying it to GSK's P4P programme.

Key Findings

  • Workplace health promotion programmes are growing in numbers and scope around the world. Such programmes have the potential to generate returns on investments and can reduce overall health costs. In essence, the importance of the workplace as a setting for health promotion is increasingly recognised by employers and policymakers.
  • Key factors that determine the success of a workplace health promotion programme are commitment from leadership and senior management and making the health and wellbeing of staff an organisational priority. These align with previous work conducted by RAND Europe, which found that organisations that understand health and wellbeing as an indicator of organisational success generally have lower levels of absenteeism and presenteeism among their employees.
  • A small amount of pharmaceutical companies, including GSK, measure the return of their workplace health promotion programmes in a systematic manner. This is due to the relative high costs involved in calculating the return on investment (including time for analysis and data collection) and a lack of understanding on how to measure the effectiveness of the interventions.
  • Based on data provided by GSK and other publicly available data sources, the return on investment for GSK's P4P programme is between $0.26 and $2.12. This means that the investment is expected to be fully repaid and bring further additional net returns. The return on investment clearly demonstrates the potential business case for companies such as GSK to invest globally in the health and wellbeing of its workforce.

Research conducted by

The research described in this report was funded by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) conducted by RAND Europe.

This report is part of the RAND research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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