Orlando, FL – Sept. 30, 2015—eMindful, the provider of live, online mindfulness programs for employers, insurers, wellness companies and employee assistance programs today reported results from a large sample of participants in the company’s stress and resiliency programs. Announced at the Benefits Forum & Expo conference, the outcomes are believed to be the first to include findings from dozens of employers across multiple countries, using scientifically validated instruments.
Chief among the findings is a 29 percent reduction in perceived stress, from 19.6 to 14.1 using the 10-item Perceived Stress Scale (PSS). Developed at Carnegie Mellon University, the scale has been used for more than three decades in scientific studies to assess the degree to which people perceive their lives as stressful. Using national averages to estimate percentile, this represents a dramatic decline; participants dropped from the 69th percentile to the 41st.
“Elevated stress is prevalent in the workplace, contributing to unhealthy lifestyles, chronic illness, job dissatisfaction, and burnout,” said Joel Kahn, MD, eMindful’s chief medical and operating officer. “Mindfulness has been found effective in countering workplace stress, and a growing number of employers are offering mindfulness-based stress management and resilience programs as a result.”
Workplace productivity showed a significant improvement as well. It was measured using the Work Limitations Questionnaire (WLQ), another validated research instrument. Developed by Debra Lerner, PhD, at Tufts Medical Center the WLQ assesses how physical or emotional problems may interfere with one’s ability to work. WLQ scores reflect the impact of these problems on productivity in minutes per week.
Before taking eMindful courses, employees reported losing an estimated 117 minutes of productive time per week. After completing the program, this was reduced to 70 minutes. This gain of 47 minutes in productive time per employee per week translates to almost 38 hours per year, nearly an extra week of work.
Sleep habits were self-reported using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), a validated instrument created by Daniel Buysse, MD, and colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh. The PSQI assesses sleep quality, sleep habits and their impact on daytime functioning. The global PSQI score declined from 6.4 to 5.1, indicating a 20.3 percent overall improvement in perceived sleep quality. Perhaps more importantly, the change in mean score brought the group’s average to almost 5, the cut-off score for determining “good sleepers” and “poor sleepers.”
eMindful started offering mindfulness courses in its webinar-style classrooms in 2007, and has provided training to thousands of people from dozens of countries. The company began measuring outcomes in 2010.
To translate these findings into financial results for employers, eMindful estimates a return on investment (ROI) based upon outcomes data and published research on employee productivity and stress-related medical costs. To estimate ROI, eMindful uses reported company salaries, demonstrated changes in productivity, and estimated costs associated with specific scores on the validated instruments. For example, research on the relationship between PSS scores and covered health claims costs over the 12 months prior to entering an eMindful course was presented at the Society of Behavioral Medicine in 2011 by Michael Baime, MD, director of the Penn Program in Mindfulness at the University of Pennsylvania Health System. His research with William Pace, PhD, and William Morris, BA, of Aetna Analytics, and colleagues, showed that a decrease of one point on the PSS was associated with an annual reduction in health claims costs of $96.36.
“Scientific studies on mindfulness have burgeoned recently, with demonstrated benefits ranging from decreased stress and anxiety to increased immune system functioning and pain tolerance,” said Ruth Q. Wolever, Ph.D., eMindful’s Chief Scientific Officer and Associate Professor at the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.
“The costs of stress for employers include not only absenteeism and losses in productivity, but also include medical costs related to unhealthy behavior patterns (e.g., excessive alcohol or drug consumption, overeating, smoking, sedentary lifestyle) and stressful lifestyles that create and/or exacerbate chronic illness (i.e. hypertension, diabetes, obesity, heart disease and stroke).”
A detailed white paper on the company’s research is available from eMindful during the exhibition, at booth 412. Executives from the company, including CEO Kelley McCabe, will present findings of the research on Friday Oct. 2, 10:50 a.m. in the Bonnet Creek Ballroom IX.
eMindful provides applied mindfulness programs targeting employee well-being and modifiable health cost drivers facing employers – stress, metabolic syndrome, smoking, diabetes, cancer, and chronic pain. It is the only company providing these programs through live, online classrooms –which are more accessible and scalable than in-person training, and more engaging than recorded content.
Its evidence-based programs have been adopted by leading employers and health insurers such as State of Arizona employees and Aetna Inc., with results recently receiving the acclaim of the New York Times, PBS NewsHour and CBS This Morning. The company’s Mindfulness at Work® program was recognized by the National Business Group on Health for innovation. To learn more about eMindful or how to participate in a mindfulness program, visit eMindful.com.
PR Counsel, eMindful Inc.
SVP of Marketing and Product Management, eMindful Inc.