To help employers benchmark their benefit offerings, the National Business Group on Health is re-launching its absence management and health and productivity management tool in partnership with Truven Health Analytics.

The Employer Measures of Productivity, Absence and Quality program, originally launched in 2001, is getting a new life after a two-year pause thanks to the NBGH’s partnership with Truven, which will analyze the employer data. Starting in the spring of 2015, participating employers can input their data into the EMPAQ tool and Truven will crunch the numbers and create individualized reports for each participating employer that show how the employer compares to all employers in general, as well as other employers in their particular industry. Reports will be available in the fall of 2015.

“The goal [in 2001] was to develop some standardized metrics that any employer could use to easily evaluate their programs,” says Karen Marlo, vice president, benchmarking and analysis with the NBGH. “Absence is such a large cost driver at some companies.” 

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The new and improved EMPAQ program takes into consideration a total of 15 core metrics, including short-term disability, long-term disability, workers’ compensation, cost and causes of incidental absences, health care costs, as well as utilization and cost of employee assistance programs.

“It’s an effort for employers to look at multiple benefit programs to be able to see what their investment is in terms of cost, and where they have issues around absence and productivity,” says Marlo. “The goal is to help employers identify where maybe they are out of line compared to their peers in terms of absence and productivity. It’s a great system for employers to track, over time, how they’re doing and compare themselves to their peers.” 

The survey tool will be available to any employer that wishes to participate, not just NBGH members.

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“If you want to get a true picture of what’s going on, you’re going to want to look at your disability data, your workers’ comp data, your health risk assessment and biometrics data,” says Jody Amodeo, vice president, practice leadership and client services with Truven Health Analytics. “You’re going to want to aggregate as much data as you can to truly understand so you can then develop your benefit design to support the health of your employees and also to develop supportive programs and education campaigns to complement them.”

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