270695 Designing a Workplace Wellness Toolkit for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: Improving Health and Lowering Costs

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Jamie Lamson, MPH , Public Policy and Advocacy, COPD Foundation, Washington, DC
Background COPD is an umbrella term describing progressive lung diseases including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory asthma and some forms of bronchiectasis. In 2008 COPD became the 3rd cause of death. 70% of COPD occurs under age 65. Half of the 24 million affected haven't been diagnosed. The average patient is not diagnosed until half of lung function is lost. Employers can minimize the burden of COPD through awareness and education efforts leading to earlier detection and improved management.


To conduct qualitative and quantitative research with employers to develop a COPD employer toolkit and increase employer engagement.


Phase-one included literature searches, focus groups and an electronic survey assessing employer wellness priorities, COPD knowledge and toolkit focus and format preferences. Phase-two included analysis and creation of materials with the Maryland COPD Coalition and businesses. Phase-three included evaluation of materials by employers, material refinement and deployment. Phase four includes assessment of deployment strategy and outcome measurement.

Results: Phase-one findings included; employers had low knowledge of COPD's burden; priorities included diabetes, heart disease, and tobacco cessation; perceived reasons why COPD was not a wellness priority included lack of knowledge on cost impact, low public awareness, high competition and misconception of COPD as a disease of elderly.

Based on these findings the materials focused on explaining cost burden and correcting the misconception of COPD. A cost-calculator was developed and tools were designed to integrate with existing wellness activities. At the time of submission evaluation is underway. Full results will be available in March.

Learning Areas:
Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Chronic disease management and prevention
Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs
Occupational health and safety
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
Describe the burden of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease in the workforce. Explain the 11 month project process that lead to the completion of a new worksite wellness toolkit for COPD. Assess key metrics that will be used to measure the impact of the new worksite wellness toolkit for COPD.

Keywords: Chronic Diseases, Occupational Health Programs

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the project lead for the creation of the COPD employer toolkit, a federally funded project. Among my scientific interests has been the development of strategies for improving quality of care and reducing economic burdens associated with COPD.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.