Magazine article Online

When Corporate Human Resource Departments Look for Health Care Information

Magazine article Online

When Corporate Human Resource Departments Look for Health Care Information

Article excerpt

"Employee Lifestyle and the Bottom Line"

"The Impact of AIDS on Benefits Plans"

"Managing Substance Abuse in Your Company"

"Organizational Burnout Programs. . ."

"Key Concerns in Shaping a Company Smoking Policy"

"Drug Testing that Clears Arbitration Hurdles"

"Health and Fitness Boom Moves into

Corporate America"

As these examples of titles drawn from recent literature illustrate, business information specialists need health care information to support decision-makers confronted with expanding employee benefits packages, new issues in preemployment screening, changes in work environment, and personnel policy setting. Visitors at corporate work sites today will note that general suggestion boxes have been replaced with dental or smoking surveys, that the Scarsdale or other specialty diets may appear as selections in the company cafeteria, that free cholesterol or blood pressure monitoring campaigns are as prevalent as blood bank or United Fund drives, and that notices of aerobic exercise, stress management, back pain prevention, or smoking cessation workshops are as numerous on human resources (HR) department bulletin boards as job skills educational opportunities.

Whether motivated by altruism or the bottom line, more and more corporations are encouraging employee wellness with preventive health care programs. Does employee fitness decrease absenteeism, medical costs, and /or turnover? Do worksite programs increase productivity and job satisfaction? What has been the experience of other companies in establishing smoking policies, drug screening requirements, AIDS testing, exercise centers, or weight-loss incentive plans? A variety of online databases can provide answers to these questions.


The National Library of Medicine's HEALTH PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION (HPA) database indexes a broad spectrum of information on the nonclinical aspects of health care. The controlled descriptor Occupational Health Services encompasses wellness programs and may be qualified with a selection of subheadings. ROOT on BRS or EXPAND on DIALOG can be used to browse for indexing terms (Figure 1).

Output from HPA searches such as that shown in Figure 1 will include references to many journal titles not indexed in depth in other business sources online such as:

"Employee fitness: state of the art" - Can. Jnl. of

Public Hlth.

"Does employee fitness decrease employee

absenteeism and medical cost?" - Health Matrix

"Fitness program reduces health care costs"

Dimensions in Hlth. Services

"A preliminary investigation: effect of a corporate fitness program. . ." - J. Occupational Medicine

Thus HPA offers HR managers access to viewpoints from the medical community written in nontechnical language, Although MEDLINE and EMBASE (Excerpta Medica online) will certainly index material on health issues confronting corporate planners, in those databases the emphasis is likely to be placed on the scientific aspects of a topic. For example, details of drug analysis methodology, relayed in technical terms, are the focus of discussion in many references retrieved in a search on "drug testing in the workplace" conducted in medical databases. HEALTH PLANNING AND ADMINISTRATION, on the other hand, contributes management-oriented articles: e.g., "Drug testing-A primer for employers" from Employee Relations Law Journal, "Drug testing-a step-by-step approach" from Business and Health.

In addition to descriptors used in the "fitness program cost" search shown in Figure 1, HPA subject headings pertinent to HR needs include:


Attitude to Health

Burnout, Professional

Employee Incentive Plans

Employee Performance Appraisal

Health Behavior

Health Education

Health Promotion

Insurance, Health

Personnel Management

Personnel Turnover

Stress, Psychological


Management-oriented bibliography on corporate health care issues is also wellrepresented in ABI/INFORM. …

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