Research

Have a look at some of the leading wellness research findings we've published.

Design, development and validation of the RedBrick Health Assessment: a questionnaire-based study.

Mills PR, Masloski WS, Bashaw CM, Butler JR, Hillstrom ME, Zimmerman EM. J R Soc Med Sh Rep 2011;2:71.


OBJECTIVES: Health risk assessment (HRA) questionnaires have become a popular tool to help quantify health issues within populations. Over the last decade HRAs have increasingly been delivered in the online environment. The objective of this study was to create and validate an HRA that is optimized for delivery via the Internet.

DESIGN: After an iterative process of user testing and interface design the RedBrick Health Assessment (RBHA) was validated against known domain specific questionnaires with 464 working Americans, and with medical claims data from over 25,000 employees.

SETTING: All consumer testing, data capture and analysis occurred at the offices of RedBrick Health Corporation, Minneapolis, USA and via a secure online portal.

PARTICIPANTS: Individuals in full-time employment in the USA, who were between 18 and 65 years of age at the time inquiry.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Correlation of the included RBHA domains with the output from known gold standard health question sets for each assessed health domain.

RESULTS: The iterative development process employed in creating the RBHA produced a tool that had a high degree of user acceptability. The domains demonstrated good correlations with relevant gold standard questionnaire measures, good internal consistency, and acceptable sensitivity and specificity when compared to gold standard risk stratification and high-risk classification (specificity of domains ranged from 76-94%). A test-retest correlation co-efficient of 0.7, or greater, was achieved 8 weeks after initial completion.

CONCLUSIONS: The RBHA is a new breed of HRA that has been specifically developed for capturing health status information in an online environment. At its heart is user centricity and this focus has enabled the creation of a tool that is not only highly engaging but also captures accurate and robust health status information.

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Employee performance in the knowledge economy: Capturing the keys to success.

Fauth R, Bevan S, Mills P. Psychology Research & Behavior Management. 2009: 2; 1-12


The present study examines the key determinants of employee performance in a knowledge-intensive service firm located in the UK.

Using data from a pilot study, we mapped eight performance-related behaviors to two measures of global performance to isolate the strongest predictors of the latter. We also examined the degree to which these associations varied depending on whether employees or their managers reported on performance as well as according to the degree of complexity (eg, ongoing learning, multitasking, problem solving, etc.) present in workers' jobs.

Findings revealed that more traditional employee performance related behaviors (eg, dependability) as well as behaviors that have likely increased in importance in the knowledge economy (eg, sharing ideas and information) accounted for the most variance in reported global performance. Sharing ideas and information was a particularly important predictor for workers in complex jobs.

When the performance-related behaviors were regressed on the organization's annual employee appraisal ratings, only dependability and time management behaviors were significantly associated with the outcome.

As organizational success increasingly is dependent on intangible inputs stemming from the ideas, innovations and creativity of its workforce, organizations need to ensure that they are capturing the full range of behaviors that help to define their success. Further research with a diverse range of organizations will help define this further.

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Impact of a Health Promotion Program on Employee Health Risks and Work Productivity.

Mills PR, Kessler RC, Cooper J, Sullivan S. Am. J. Health Promot. 2007; 22:45-53


PURPOSE: Evaluate the impact of a multicomponent workplace health promotion program on employee health risks and work productivity.

DESIGN: Quasi-experimental 12-month before-after intervention-control study.

SETTING: A multinational corporation headquartered in the United Kingdom.

SUBJECTS: Of 618 employees offered the program, 266 (43%) completed questionnaires before and after the program. A total of 1242 of 2500 (49.7%) of a control population also completed questionnaires 12 months apart.

INTERVENTION: A multicomponent health promotion program incorporating a health risk appraisal questionnaire, access to a tailored health improvement web portal, wellness literature, and seminars and workshops focused upon identified wellness issues.

MEASURES: Outcomes were (1) cumulative count of health risk factors and the World Health Organization health and work performance questionnaire measures of (2) workplace absenteeism and (3) work performance.

RESULTS: After adjusting for baseline differences, improvements in all three outcomes were significantly greater in the intervention group compared with the control group. Mean excess reductions of 0.45 health risk factors and 0.36 monthly absenteeism days and a mean increase of 0.79 on the work performance scale were observed in the intervention group compared with the control group. The intervention yielded a positive return on investment, even using conservative assumptions about effect size estimation.

CONCLUSION: The results suggest that a well-implemented multicomponent workplace health promotion program can produce sizeable changes in health risks and productivity.

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The effect of high correlated colour temperature office lighting on employee wellbeing and work performance

Mills PR, Tomkins SC, Schlangen LJM. J. Circad. Rhythms. 2007; 5: 2.


BACKGROUND: The effects of lighting on the human circadian system are well-established. The recent discovery of 'non-visual' retinal receptors has confirmed an anatomical basis for the non-image forming, biological effects of light and has stimulated interest in the use of light to enhance wellbeing in the corporate setting.

METHODS: A prospective controlled intervention study was conducted within a shift-working call centre to investigate the effect of newly developed fluorescent light sources with a high correlated colour temperature (17000 K) upon the wellbeing, functioning and work performance of employees. Five items of the SF-36 questionnaire and a modification of the Columbia Jet Lag scale, were used to evaluate employees on two different floors of the call centre between February and May 2005. Questionnaire completion occurred at baseline and after a three month intervention period, during which time one floor was exposed to new high correlated colour temperature lighting and the other remained exposed to usual office lighting. Two sided t-tests with Bonferroni correction for type I errors were used to compare the characteristics of the two groups at baseline and to evaluate changes in the intervention and control groups over the period of the study.

RESULTS: Individuals in the intervention arm of the study showed a significant improvement in self-reported ability to concentrate at study end as compared to those within the control arm (p < 0.05). The mean individual score on a 5 point Likert scale improved by 36.8% in the intervention group, compared with only 1.7% in the control group. The majority of this improvement occurred within the first 7 weeks of the 14 week study. Substantial within group improvements were observed in the intervention group in the areas of fatigue (26.9%), alertness (28.2%), daytime sleepiness (31%) and work performance (19.4%), as assessed by the modified Columbia Scale, and in the areas of vitality (28.4%) and mental health (13.9%), as assessed by the SF-36 over the study period.

CONCLUSION: High correlated colour temperature fluorescent lights could provide a useful intervention to improve wellbeing and productivity in the corporate setting, although further work is necessary in quantifying the magnitude of likely benefits.

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The development of a new corporate specific health risk measurement instrument, and its use in investigating the relationship between health and well-being and employee productivity

Mills PR. Environ Health 2005; 4:1.


BACKGROUND: There is a growing body of evidence linking health and well-being to key business issues. Despite this, corporate uptake of workplace health promotion programmes has been slow outside the USA. One possible reason for this is the lack of a generally available health risk measure that is quick and easy to administer and produces data that is rich enough to inform and direct subsequent employee health promotional interventions.

METHODS: We report on the development and validation of the health and well-being (HWB) assessment, a free to use health risk appraisal questionnaire that has been specifically developed for use in the corporate setting. The HWB assessment focuses upon modifiable health issues that directly impact upon business drivers. Development involved interviews with business leaders to ascertain their key areas of focus, scientific and general literature review to find evidence for health status having an impact upon these areas, and end user testing.Three UK-based organisations (insurance, telecommunications and consumer goods sectors) participated in the research. A total of 2224 employees completed the HWB assessment, the short-form 36 (SF-36) and the World Health Organisation Health and Work Performance questionnaire (WHO-HPQ) as part of the validation process.

RESULTS: The HWB assessment is a twenty item questionnaire covering ten areas of health and well-being. Completion of the HWB assessment generates a global health risk score and ten sub-scores corresponding to the ten areas covered. It is easy to use and quick to complete (average completion time was eight minutes) and showed good internal consistency and test-retest reliability. Statistically significant correlations with similar SF-36 variables were observed. A significant negative correlation between HWB score and productivity decrement, as measured by the WHO-HPQ, was observed (r = -0.4). Individuals with HWB scores above the 25th percentile were more likely to achieve workplace productivity standards than those with scores below the 25th percentile (OR 3.62, 95% confidence limits 2.93 - 4.47).

CONCLUSION: The HWB assessment generates reliable business focused health risk data that can be used to direct and target appropriate interventions within corporate populations. It may also be useful in quantifying the financial impact health status issues have upon organisations.

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Some of our clients

In the media

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Cover UK

Patient Engagement - Is it time to think differently?

Critically examining the way we fund, remunerate for and deliver healthcare services seems like a good way to tackle the discrepancy between total spend and outcomes.
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Employee Healthcare: Demonstrating ROI (VIDEO)

James Glover, Hilary Bright, Amy LeBlanc and Peter Mills join Peter Crush to debate the challenge of demonstrating the benefits of healthcare spend. In association with Simplyhealth.
HR Magazine


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