Community Health Workers (CHWs) act as a bridge between the community and social and healthcare services. The positive impact that Community Health Worker-led programs have on health often have significant economic effects for individuals, healthcare organizations, and society. Economic benefits can occur in multiple ways; through increased productivity, increased tax contributions to society, or through savings in healthcare costs.
The economic benefits of Community Health Worker programs are best measured through return on investment (ROI) analysis, which demonstrates the amount of money saved for every $1 invested in these programs. MHP Salud provides a free ROI toolkit for organizations that want to conduct ROI on their CHW-led programs. MHP Salud also offers ROI training as well as direct This service is appropriate for a wide variety of organizations and can be adapted to meet their unique needs. Some important factors that MHP Salud considers when determining ROI include data quality, budgetary information, and comparison data with which to compare the results of ROI analysis.
The current national attention paid on improving health outcomes and quality of care, while also containing costs, makes positive ROI results even more significant. Measuring ROI of CHW-led programs, and sharing the results, contributes to a growing body of evidence that investments in these programs are both impactful and financially sustainable. ROI results additionally provide a great “snapshot” of information to share with both stakeholders and the community, to demonstrate both social and fiscal responsibility. Evidence suggests that Community Health Worker programs provide ROI, for example, one CHW-led program had a ROI of $1.12 for every $1 spent on a diabetes management program; another CHW-led program had a $2 return for every $1 spent on a multi-chronic disease management program.,
Demonstrating positive ROI for chronic conditions has enormous implications for healthcare organizations, as the most common health challenges are often the costliest. MHP Salud’s evaluation team recently conducted ROI analyses for two CHW-led programs: a cancer prevention program, which demonstrated ROI of $3.16 for every $1 spent; and a diabetes management program, which demonstrated ROI of $1.09 for every $1 spent. These outcomes generate a positive ROI, both individually and societally. Other organizations have found similar results, in 2020 a study published Health Affairs revealed that analysis of a randomized control trial of a University of Pennsylvania CHW intervention would return $2.47 to the average medicaid payer within a fiscal year.