The Value of Occupational Health Research

History, Evolution and Way Forward
This report has approached the ‘value' of OH research from a general OH perspective i.e. improving health, wellbeing and functional capability of the working age population, a societal and public health perspective and an economic perspective.
These elements have been addressed by: a brief scoping review of workplace interventions with economic evaluations, qualitative interviews of key stakeholders in the field of OH research, and supplemented by an overview of related reports and publications, including those on occupational epidemiology and other OH research areas.
Systematic reviews to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of OH interventions6-9 have identified poor methodological quality as a key barrier to drawing meaningful conclusions. It has been five years since the most recent review so we undertook a brief scope of the literature and its methodological quality to explore whether there had been any improvement since then in the quality of economic evaluations. We found a relatively low number of intervention studies in OH research that incorporated economic evaluations. Few were cost-effective or costbeneficial.
For the majority, the economic evaluations were typically of low methodological quality and often from an ‘employer' perspective only. Only a small number included a broader societal perspective. The majority of studies did not consider a long-term time horizon nor use any extrapolation or modelling approaches.


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