ANN ARBOR, Mich., Sept. 9 /PRNewswire/ — Employers seeking a cost effective way to improve their employees' health and determine the return on investment (ROI) for their wellness programs may now be a step closer to understanding how to predict ROI, according to a study published in the September issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

The study, conducted by Thomson Reuters in conjunction with American Specialty Health, estimated the potential ROI from a wellness program administered by American Specialty Health. The one-year study concluded that a program of telephone-based health coaching for weight management can change employees' behavior, reduce their health risk factors, and potentially produce an ROI of 1.17 to 1.00. The study estimated total projected savings of $311,755. Fifty-nine percent of the projected savings, or $184,582, was attributed to reduced healthcare expenditures and 41 percent ($127,173) was attributed to productivity improvements.

"Every day in the business world, financial analysts utilize mathematical econometric models to predict future outcomes, such as changes in revenues and expenses for an organization," said Ron Z. Goetzel, vice president of consulting and applied research for Thomson Reuters and research professor at the Emory University Rollins School of Public Health. "In a similar way, our ROI model can be used to forecast how changes in employee health behavior can affect an organization's future healthcare and productivity-related expenditures."

Douglas Metz, DC, American Specialty Health chief health services officer, co-authored the study. "We are pleased that this collaboration between American Specialty Health and Thomson Reuters has produced an economic model that demonstrates that employers and health plans can reliably and efficiently forecast a return on investment for employee health improvement plans," he said.

The study followed 890 employees enrolled for 12 months in a telephone coaching program for obesity management. The study measured 11 key health risk variables, including nutrition, fitness, smoking (current and former), stress, cholesterol, blood pressure, alcohol abuse, depression, glucose and body weight. At the end of one year, the study found statistically significant reductions in seven health risk factors. For example, the study demonstrated significant decreases in risk prevalence for poor eating habits (21.3% reduction) and poor physical activity (15.1% reduction). All of the biometric measures related to overweight and obesity also decreased, including percent overweight or obese (5.8% reduction), weight (4.5 pounds reduction), and body mass index (0.9 reduction).

"This study demonstrates that telephone health coaching programs can reduce key health risk factors that drive up employer health costs, and further supports our position that these kinds of programs can be powerful cost containment tools for employers seeking to ratchet down healthcare expenditures," said George DeVries, chairman and chief executive officer of American Specialty Health.

About Thomson Reuters

The Healthcare business of Thomson Reuters produces insights, information, benchmarks and analysis that enable organizations to manage costs, improve performance and enhance the quality of healthcare. Thomson Reuters is the world's leading source of intelligent information for businesses and professionals. We combine industry expertise with innovative technology to deliver critical information to leading decision makers in the financial, legal, tax and accounting, scientific, healthcare and media markets, powered by the world's most trusted news organization. With headquarters in New York and major operations in London and Eagan, Minnesota, Thomson Reuters employs more than 50,000 people in 93 countries. Thomson Reuters shares are listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: TRI); Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: TRI); London Stock Exchange (LSE: TRIL); and Nasdaq (NASDAQ: TRIN). For more information, go to

About American Specialty Health

ASH is the nation's leading specialty benefits organization for complementary health care, providing health benefit, health education, and affinity network programs to employer groups, trust funds, health plans, and insurance carriers nationwide. Based in San Diego, California, ASH has over 500 employees and more than 9 million members in benefit programs nationwide. Its subsidiary, ASH Insurance, is currently licensed or admitted as an insurer in 42 states and the District of Columbia. For more information about American Specialty Health, visit

SOURCE Thomson Reuters