Online tool launched to calculate economic benefit of investing in health

National director for health and work Dame Carol Black has unveiled an online tool that will allow companies to evaluate and measure the economic benefits of investing in employee health programmes.

The tool, first revealed in Occupational Health in June, has been developed by Black’s Health, Work and Wellbeing strategy organisation in partnership with Business in the Community (BITC) and consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

The BusinessHealthCheck evaluation tool has been tested ahead of its launch by a number of organisations, including National Grid, Boots and landscaping firm Marshalls.

Organisations can sign up to pilot the product, which they then download for free, with the intention, said Black, of turning “health and wellbeing into management information on which businesses can act”.

The tool also aims to help organisations assess the business case for investing in employee wellness programmes and lead to more informed decision-making, she added.

“A number of our members are currently trialling the tool which will be further developed over the next three months, and we hope will deliver real value to the business community,” said Louise Aston, BITC campaign director.

Combined with more conventional financial instruments and evaluation methods, the new tool should allow firms to make better medium and long-term decisions, agreed PwC’s Simon Leary. “Coupled with a dashboard of financial outcomes and indicators, the tool will allow employers to monitor the overall success of their wellness initiatives,” he said.

The launch of the tool has come as the profession is still awaiting the government’s formal response to Dame Carol’s Working for a Healthier Tomorrow review.

Its response had been expected before the summer, but it is now thought it will not be likely to be published until the autumn, probably in October.

However, the Health, Work and Wellbeing strategy’s National Stakeholder Council, encompassing ministers, business, unions, healthcare professional, insurers and social enterprises, did meet in July to discuss the review.

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