graphical header showing various types of workers

The Boston Hospital Workers Health Study: Using a longitudinal database to assess the health impact of work organization in hospitals

Healthcare workers are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. labor force. Their working conditions, however, may be putting their own health at risk, which also impacts their families, employers, and patients. Protecting and promoting the safety and health of these workers is both an occupational health priority and a public health imperative.

PI: Erika Sabbath, ScD

The Boston Hospital Workers Health Study is a collaboration between our Center and Partners HealthCare, the largest private employer in Massachusetts. Using Partners’ extensive longitudinal database of employee records, our research seeks to identify pathways between the organization of work at hospitals and outcomes for workers, their patients, and the healthcare enterprise.

This project aims to:

  • Enhance the existing database to enable hypothesis testing on longitudinal associations between work organization and outcomes for workers, patients, and employers
  • Identify the longitudinal impact of work organization on worker health and safety, the healthcare enterprise, and patient safety
  • Disseminate our research findings and methods for building and maintaining the database

We’ve published our findings about the relationship between work organization and worker health and well-being outcomes. Our current work assesses complex variations in working conditions, such as team consistency and work organization at the unit level. We’re examining associations between these factors and worker health, safety, and well-being. We also plan to survey 2,000 hospital patient care workers about their work environment, health outcomes, and other relevant variables.