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Employees With Psoriasis Who Receive Treatment Are More Productive, Miss Fewer Days of Work

Posted on November 23, 2021
See how 26 members reacted on this article
Medically reviewed by
Ariel D. Teitel, M.D., M.B.A.
Article written by
Marnie Willman

  • Individuals with psoriasis require more time off of work and have lower work productivity compared to the general population, according to recent studies.
  • One study found that employees who received treatment for their psoriasis had higher work productivity.
  • Employers should take a holistic view of their employees to ensure they are healthy and receiving necessary treatment.

People living with skin conditions such as psoriasis sometimes need to take time off of work, due to symptoms or side effects of their treatments. The condition can also impact a person’s ability to be as productive at work as they once were. The end result: Both employees with the condition and the companies they work for may suffer financial loss. Employees who receive treatment for their psoriasis, however, are more productive, according to new research.

Two recent studies sought to better understand how psoriasis can impact work productivity and how many people with the condition require disability or sick leave. The first study analyzed claims made for sick leave, short- and long-term disability, and worker’s compensation for people with various skin conditions. The second looked at a pool of people living with psoriasis and evaluated how their condition affected their work productivity.

“Skin conditions impact employees in many ways. Not only do they incur health care costs to treat their condition, they also may require time off due to episodes. Some may lose focus or experience side effects from medications while at work and have accidents that are covered under workers’ compensation,” said Richard Brook, president of Better Health Worldwide, in an interview with MyPsoriasisTeam. Brook is an author of one of the studies, “Absence Time and Payments Due to Sick Leave, Long- And Short-term Disability And Workers’ Compensation for Employees With Skin Conditions.”

Both studies found people living with skin conditions such as psoriasis had a lower work productivity rate and needed to go on leave more often than those without the condition. The studies also suggest that employers stand to benefit when they ensure their employees receive adequate treatment for psoriasis.

“Employers need a holistic view of their employees to keep them at work and healthy. We are fortunate to have this unique data source that allows us to link medical conditions to total employee wellness,” Brook said.

Leave Required To Manage Skin Conditions Is Not ‘One Size Fits All’

In Brook’s study, published by Better Health WorldWide and Workpartners, researchers examined the different types of leave taken by employees with inflammatory skin conditions, chronic skin ulcers, psoriasis, and others. By looking at the Workpartners Research Reference Database results for sick leave, short- and long-term disability, and workers’ compensation claims from 2001 through 2019, researchers were able to understand how living with chronic skin conditions affects employees’ need for leave.

For each type of benefit, researchers looked at the percentage of employees taking leave, how many claims employees made, how many days of leave were ultimately taken, and median payments, represented as a percentage of the employee’s salary.

The results of this study, looking at multiple skin disorders including psoriasis, found that approximately 12 percent of employees reported having skin conditions. Of those employees:

  • 58.2 percent filed claims for sick leave
  • 8.9 percent applied for short-term disability
  • 0.3 percent applied for long-term disability
  • 1.3 percent applied for worker’s compensation

In terms of days requested per claim, employees with skin conditions such as psoriasis needed, on average:

  • 37.5 days of short-term disability
  • 183.8 days of long-term disability
  • 43.3 days of worker’s compensation

Employees used between 36.9 percent and 77.9 percent of their sick leave during the study period. The overall number of sick days more than doubled between 2001 and 2019, before ending at 184 percent of the original 2001 amount.

Learn more about disability benefits for people with psoriasis.

Treating Psoriasis Can Lead to Increased Work Productivity

In the second study — titled “Indirect Costs Due to Work Productivity Loss in Patients with Psoriasis in the United States: Analysis of the CorEvitas Psoriasis Registry” — researchers from several institutions worked together to investigate the indirect costs from work productivity loss related to psoriasis in the U.S.

American adults living with psoriasis identified in the database were divided into three categories, based on the severity of their condition: mild involvement (less than 3 percent body surface area affected), moderate involvement (3 percent to 10 percent of body surface area affected), or severe involvement (more than 10 percent of body surface area affected).

In total, between April 2015 and August 2020, 2,620 individuals were identified through the database for analysis. Of those, 13 percent had mild involvement, 47 percent had moderate involvement, and 40 percent had severe involvement of psoriasis.

After six months, employees who had undergone treatment were 9.2 percent more productive, compared to the baseline value before treatment. This translated to cost annual savings of $4,776 for an individual’s employer. The highest productivity improvement, resulting from participants who experienced 90 percent to 100 percent psoriasis skin clearance after six months of treatment, translated to an annual savings of $7,216 for their employers.

The overall findings from this study suggest that people with more severe cases of psoriasis experience greater work productivity loss, which is associated strongly with indirect costs related to psoriasis. In the study, these productivity losses and associated costs were lowest for individuals who had higher rates of skin clearance after six months of treatment. In other words, the fewer symptoms an employee had, the more productive they were.

“These results suggest that achievement of higher levels of skin clearance may help contribute to increased work productivity and associated reductions in the valuation of [indirect costs] related to [work productivity loss] among patients with psoriasis,” researchers concluded.

Ariel D. Teitel, M.D., M.B.A. is the clinical associate professor of medicine at the NYU Langone Medical Center in New York. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Learn more about him here.
Marnie Willman is a Ph.D. candidate in medical microbiology and infectious diseases at the University of Manitoba. Learn more about her here.

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