Evaluation of workplace health promotion – how to counteract the well-known difficulties  [presentation, pdf, 990 kB]

Brunner E., Kada O., Jenull B.
First author's affiliation: Carinthia University of Applied Sciences (CUAS), Feldkirchen, Austria

Although there’s no doubt about the effectiveness of workplace health promotion (WHP) there are several well-known problems to be taken into account when evaluating WHP: The effectiveness of WHP is not precisely attributable to certain interventions (Lenhardt, 2005), the levels of evidence from evidence-based medicine are only in parts applicable (Bödeker, 2007), the generalisation of the results to other contexts is limited (Slesina, 2008), and the evaluation of lasting effects of WHP can only be captured using costly and time-consuming concepts and is thus hardly realized. A promising approach to overcome these difficulties is introduced on the basis of a WHP project implemented in a Carinthian hospital. The project uses health circles, an open space, and an employee survey for the as-is analysis which is the basis for the development of interventions. The project is accompanied by advisory board meetings. All interventions and the meetings of the advisory board are evaluated using adequate designs and methods: For example, the smoking intervention is evaluated using a pre-post control group design (summative evaluation); qualitative content analysis of the meeting protocols is used to evaluate and simultaneously improve the meetings of the advisory board in the sense of formative evaluation. Hence, based on the state of the art the present evaluation concept comprises multiple perspectives, qualitative and quantitative methods, is flexibly tailored to the particular interventions and combines different levels of evidence. It can be recommended that evaluation should be part of a WHP project from the very beginning so that formative and summative evaluation can be integrated. Regarding every single intervention the best applicable level of evidence should be realised and adequate methods for each research subject should be employed. In a successful WHP project the costs associated with evaluation must be precisely budgeted.