Online Program

Do long work hours impede the ability of workers to obtain preventive health care services?

Monday, November 4, 2013

Xiaoxi Yao, PhD, Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
Allard Dembe, ScD, Division of Health Services, Management and Policy, The Ohio State University, College of Public Health, Columbus, OH
Thomas Wickizer, PhD, Division of Health Services Management and Policy, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Eric Seiber, PhD, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Bo Lu, PhD, College of Public Health, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH
Background and Objectives: American adults receive only about half of the recommended preventive health services, such as flu shots and mammograms. There are various barriers to receiving routine preventive care, including lack of insurance coverage and transportation difficulties. Previous research suggests that working long hours might also interfere with workers' ability to receive care. This study aims to analyze the association between long working hours and workers' ability to obtain needed services. Method: Data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey were used to measure employees' weekly work hours and their use of recommended preventive health services: annual routine check-up, annual flu vaccination, biannual dental check-up, and (for women), a biannual mammogram. Logistic regression analyses were performed testing whether working long hours is associated with not obtaining each of the four services, after controlling for insurance status and other factors. Results: Preliminary results indicate that working more than 60 hours/week is associated with a 26% increased risk of not obtaining a biannual dental check-up. There is a 99% increased risk that a woman will not receive a biannual mammogram if working more than 60 hours/week. The association between working more than 60 hours/week and failing to obtain a flu vaccination or routine annual check-up was not significant. Conclusion: The study found that long work hours might be a barrier to accessing particular preventive health services including dental check-ups and mammograms. Employer programs providing preventive services on site might help address some of the existing difficulties faced by people working long-hour schedules.

Learning Areas:

Basic medical science applied in public health
Occupational health and safety
Provision of health care to the public

Learning Objectives:
Describe why long hour work schedules might make it more difficult to obtain preventive care services. Explain what other factors might impede employees’ ability to obtain needed preventive health services. Discuss approaches the employers or employees might be able to take to facilitate easier access to preventive health services.

Keyword(s): Occupational Health, Health Care Delivery

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: This project is part of my doctoral dissertation research which I am pursuing in collaboration with Dr. Allard Dembe at the Ohio State University. I have background and experience in public health research and statistical analysis, and have good familiarity with the field of work organization and hours of work.
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.