Utilizing Utilization Rates in Canadian EAPs: The Folly of Comparing Cumquats to Tangerines
Rick Csiernik, MSW, PhD
Utilization rate is one of the fundamental calculations of Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs). It is used in assessing program impact, program promotion, internal staffing and in determining vendor rates. Two national studies, (2001, N =154; 2011, N = 142) conducted a decade apart examined the nature and structure of how a case was defined and how utilization rates were actually determined by Canadian work organizations with EAPs. What was discovered was a broad range of calculations and conceptualizations that did not become any more precise between the two study periods nor consistently follow any recommended standards such as those developed by the Employee Assistance Society of North America (EASNA). This result continues to bring into question the utility of using this metric as an evaluative tool or in any type of comparison such as internal versus external program success or EAP vendor performance within the Canadian context. Download this issue now.
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