Reeve GR, Pastula S, Rontal R. 1998. A major employer as a health care services laboratory. Int J Qual Health Care 10(6):547–553.
Health care management within the USA operations of the Ford Motor Company is a substantial and critical enterprise. The company provides health care coverage for a population of 636,000 active employees, retirees and their dependents at a cost of US$1.5 billion annually. The company realizes that effective management of health care resources requires continuous improvement in the services for which the company contracts and in the manner in which these services are provided to employees. In this context, the company’s health care management department views the Ford employee population as a living health care sciences laboratory for the design, evaluation and improvement of health care services. The population, available data sources, and their advantages and disadvantages for use in the evaluation of disease and health utilization patterns are discussed in this paper from an epidemiological perspective. Two examples of preliminary evaluations are presented to illustrate use of data from this large employee population for improving care provided to persons with elevated risk of cardiovascular disease.