More than 162 million individuals are part of the American workforce. That’s nearly two-thirds of our population and their health and wellbeing is important to us all.

Unfortunately, the health needs of working Americans have not been as effectively addressed by research and analysis as they could be. That’s partially because a lot of clinical research on the outcomes of healthcare services relies on medical claims data residing in publicly available datasets and one of the largest and easiest to access databases contains Medicare claims; typically not representative of an active workforce.

PCORI plays a critical role in convening people who would approach research or clinical care in isolation of each other.

We need to bring new data and new perspectives into the research process to address what matters to the U.S. adult working population. That means bringing employers, labor and state health departments together with researchers, patients, disease groups and insurers to identify and study real-world questions, many of which focus on quality of life. People want to know what the impact of available preventions and treatments related to health and illness will be on their ability to work, spend time with family and engage in daily activities.

PCORI plays a critical role in convening people who would approach research or clinical care in isolation of each other. I have been fortunate to have a seat at the table in PCORI-convened meetings to represent the voices of employers and those helping employers to improve employee health and wellbeing. 

Guided by its stakeholders, PCORI is focusing on the broad quality of life outcomes that resonate with patients, particularly those in the workforce. It is forging partnerships to integrate research in ways not seen before. The difference will be studies and actionable research results that look at the big picture from the individual’s perspective.

Today, we’re all partners in addressing employee health. There’s a shared interest and understanding among researchers, study partners and stakeholders that a greater focus on quality of life outcomes can address peoples’ health more fully.

Kimberly Jinnett, PhD, is Research Director of the Center for Workforce Health and Performance (CWHP) and Secretary/Treasurer of the CWHP Board. She is also Executive Vice President at the Integrated Benefits Institute. Previously, Jinnett was a health policy researcher at RAND and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Jinnett is the Project Lead on a PCORI-funded Engagement award to conduct research into how employers use evidence to make employee health investment decisions that can be beneficial for both employees and employers.

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