Can Digital Health Solutions Improve Company Productivity?

Did you know that absenteeism costs the Australian economy more than $44 billion in wages and lost productivity every year?[1].

In fact, the cost of employee absenteeism directly costs organisations approximately $578 per employee per absent day[2]. With an average number of 8.8 unscheduled employee absent days, that’s an annual cost to businesses of $5086 per worker, per annum[3].

And while a certain level of absenteeism is inevitable, the resulting loss of productivity is having huge impacts on company costs.

What drives absenteeism?

Injuries, illness (eg. colds and flu, headaches, gastro) and medical appointments are the most commonly reported reasons for employees to miss work. Not surprisingly, each year during the cold and flu season, there is a dramatic spike in absenteeism rates for both full time and part time employees[4].

Absenteeism is an especially difficult problem to tackle due to the inability to determine genuine sickness and valid reasons for employees missing work. It is a challenge for employers to effectively monitor, control and reduce absenteeism.

What are companies doing now to combat this?

Many organisations have adopted employee wellbeing solutions into their HR strategies to try and combat the growing absenteeism issues. Some of the most common initiatives include employee fitness groups, gym memberships, flu vaccinations, health and nutrition classes and even yoga and meditation sessions.

But is this enough? Are these solutions really influencing the core reasons that people aren’t at work, like common colds and flus?

In this day and age, it’s no surprise there’s an emerging trend for digital health solutions that make a significant contribution towards reducing staff absenteeism, presenteeism, injury and illness.

BIA LinkedIn Infographic

The Digital Health revolution

In the last four years alone, there’s been a significant 110 per cent growth rate in the demand for telehealth services in Australia[5]. In fact, 73 per cent of Australians say they want to interact with their health service provider via digital technologies[6].

Smartphones are revolutionising the way in which conditions such as asthma, diabetes and osteoporosis are diagnosed, with sensors and apps being used for medical purposes. According to experts, these technologies are even making it easier to remotely monitor chronic illnesses which has marked a paradigm shift in the doctor-patient relationship[7].

What is the correlation between health and efficiency at work?

An Australian study analysed the combined effects of self-rated work performance and absenteeism and found the healthiest employees are almost three times more effective than the least healthy, working approximately 143 effective hours per month compared to 49 effective hours per month by the least healthy[8].

By adopting digital health solutions into an employee wellbeing initiative, organisations can expect to improve workplace productivity and quality of work, whilst reducing the high costs associated with staff absenteeism.

How safe is the technology?

Digital health platforms and services are designed to seamlessly integrate with traditional primary medical care, while avoiding the long waiting times and high expense associated with hospital emergency departments, GP waiting rooms and home doctor services.

AWP Health & Lifecare National Sales Manager, Michael Reid will be talking on the topic of: Re-thinking health and wellbeing benefits to increase employee performance at the upcoming BIA Summit in Brisbane on 9 – 10 May, 2017.  For more information, visit click here.


  1. Ai Group’s Absenteeism & Presenteeism Survey Report 2015
  5. Direct Health Solutions – 2015 Absence Management & Wellbeing Survey
  6. Tim Kelsey, Australian Digital Health Agency, Webcast, 14 Nov 16