Individualized Naturopathic Care Reduces Presenteeism and Improves Cost-savings for Employers, CCNM Study Shows

TORONTO, January 30, 2014: Adding naturopathic treatments to conventional care not only helps reduce cardiovascular disease among those at risk, but also reduces presenteeism and improves cost-savings for employers concludes a new study by the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine (CCNM).

Cardiovascular disease is a costly, but preventable disease that can be influenced by modifiable lifestyle factors, dietary choices, and other treatments which are all part of naturopathic care. To date, the value, or cost-effectiveness of naturopathic care has not been assessed with regards to cardiovascular disease prevention.

“Given the way health-care costs are rising, it is important to look not only at a treatment’s effectiveness and safety, but also at its economic implications,” says Patricia Herman, ND, PhD, and lead researcher on the economics study.

The results of this study, which will be published in the February issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, are a companion analysis of a one-year randomized controlled trial that evaluated the addition of individualized naturopathic care to enhanced usual care for those with elevated cardiovascular risk in a workplace setting. That study, funded by the Joint Benefits Committee of the Canada Post Corporation and the Canadian Union of Postal Workers was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal in April, 2013.

For the 246 higher-risk individuals in that study, the risk of a cardiovascular event over the next 10 years was reduced from 10.8 per cent to 7.7 per cent. This means that for every 100 workers treated with adjunctive naturopathic care, approximately three fewer would experience a significant and potentially deadly event such as a heart attack or stroke.

Costs were estimated using direct medical costs measured from medical claims and patient self-report and indirect (productivity) costs from sick leave and presenteeism data. Cost savings from adjunctive naturopathic care were found to be $1187 and $1138 per employee from an employer and societal perspective, respectively. These cost savings were in addition to the reductions seen in10-year cardiovascular disease and event risks.

“This study is a great example of how comprehensive whole person care can have a substantial impact on individuals’ lifestyle behaviors and health. Naturopathic care produced cardiovascular risk reductions that exceeded that of previously studied non-pharmacological and pharmacological treatments,” adds Herman. “Employers are always searching for employee benefits that are good for both the employer and the employee. Naturopathic care seems to offer a natural solution to both.”

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