Early results of Web site-based health management interventions study outlined

May 28, 2001

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. -- Health professionals attending the recent American Occupational Health Conference in San Francisco got a glimpse of the year-to-date findings of a randomized two-year study measuring the effectiveness of Web site-based health management interventions.

The findings of what is believed to be the first-ever study of such a topic were presented by Philip Hagen, M.D., founding medical director of Mayo Clinic Health Management Resources, and Neil Sullivan, M.P.H., implementation manager for Mayo Clinic Health Management Resources and research study coordinator.

"Web site health programs -- with their interactive and personalization capabilities -- are important to study, because they may significantly improve outcomes for individuals working on changing health behaviors," Dr. Hagen said.

Preliminary study data show employees are readily adapting to the online format. Participants report spending between 6-14 hours per week on the web and at least one hour seeking health information.

"These results are not surprising, as we are seeing that 70 percent of participants prefer the web as a source to get health information compared to more traditional approaches like print or personal counselors," Sullivan said.

The 2001 American Occupational Health Conference in San Francisco, was part of the Annual Meeting of the American College of Occupational and Environment Medicine and the American Association of Occupational Health Nurses, Inc. It attracted more than 4,700 occupational health professionals.

The presentation titled "The Impact of Online Health Management on Employee Behaviors" outlined year-one usage statistics on participating study companies Intel, Texas Instruments, Lucent Technologies and QUALCOMM. The study examines various measures of the efficacy of an online health management program. Among the questions the study hopes to answer are:

*Does the use of Web technology improve measurable health behavior outcomes such as increased self-confidence in adopting healthy behaviors like exercise and better nutrition?
*What components of a multi-service online program receive greatest use and contribute to the greatest satisfaction of users?
*Do users receiving tailored e-mail messaging exhibit statistically significant differences in adoption of health behaviors?
*Does the technology affect bottom-line outcomes such as absenteeism and healthcare utilization over time?

The study will be completed later this year. Mayo Clinic Health Management Resources plans to use the study results to improve the effectiveness of online health programs in changing behaviors that lead to better employee health.
Mayo Clinic Health Management Resources products and services help organizations promote total health to employees, members and their families. Products focus on prevention, self-care, behavior change, risk assessment and disease management. Products include an employee health newsletter, customized employee health web site, self-care book and telephonic health counseling services. More information about Mayo Clinic Health Management Resources can be found on the Internet at: www.mayoclinicHMR.org

Lee Aase
507-284-5005 (days)
507-284-2511 (evenings) e-mail: newsbureau@mayo.edu

Mayo Clinic

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