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Experts claim presenteeism is difficult to measure

November 18, 2010

Although presenteeism increasingly is recognized as a contributor to employer health care costs, more work is needed to accurately assess the phenomenon, according to a commentary from the Health Management Research Center at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

According to the commentary's abstract, presenteeism -- defined as "reduced productivity at work due to health conditions" -- and its economic impact cannot be accurately measured using the tools currently available. Problems include verifying the best methods to identify and measure presenteeism, and effectively linking these measurements to objective measures of productivity.

Authors referred to presenteeism as a "buzzword" and proposed a three-year moratorium on studies related to presenteeism until the measurement issues have been addressed.

The paper was published in the November issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.