Managing Costly, High-Risk Conditions
October 20, 2020 / Corporate Wellness
From our genetics to the environments in which we live, work and socialize, our health outcomes are influenced by a lot of factors that often feel out of our control. And with a lack of information surrounding prevention coupled with our healthcare system’s current treat-conditions-as-they-arise approach, many individuals have spent a lifetime developing hard-to-break habits that are detrimental to their overall wellbeing.
A diagnosis of a chronic condition like type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity or heart disease often comes with a high price tag and a one-size-fits-all solution—medication—which does little to address the lifestyle changes necessary for improved health outcomes and reduced healthcare costs. While it’s impossible to turn back time and change behaviors leading up to the onset of chronic disease, adopting healthy lifestyle habits can make a huge difference in one’s ability to manage or reverse these conditions with the potential to minimize medical costs and prevent future health issues.
Chronic disease is on the rise, with over 60% of adults in the U.S. living with one or more conditions. These lifestyle-related conditions account for an overwhelming majority of healthcare spending (90%), a hefty price tag for individuals and employers alike. For example, Americans with diabetes average $16,752 in medical costs annually, a number that is 2.3x higher than their non-diabetic counterparts. With the heightened awareness surrounding chronic conditions due to COVID-19 risks, keeping employees safe and healthy is a top concern for organizations across the globe. A personalized, digital health approach can help employers improve the wellbeing of their workforce, reduce healthcare costs and boost productivity across their workforce.
Why Personalization Matters to Members and Their Organizations
Wellbeing is not a one-size-fits-all solution. What works for one person may not be effective for another, and that’s okay! It’s important that your at-risk employees are open-minded and willing to try new approaches, but first the framework for success must be made available. Providing your people with a suite of easily accessible tools to prevent, manage and possibly reverse disease tailored to their personal needs and preferences is essential to supporting your workforce on their behavior-change journey. Building a personalized wellbeing experience for each employee is easier than it sounds – AI-powered digital health platforms learn about an individual’s interests, goals and needs through regular use, creating a unique, data-driven experience for all users. This experience not only gives members actionable information and suggested next steps based on their unique health situations and behaviors, and helps employers understand their population health challenges and what benefits and programs to deploy for intervention.
Let’s Get Digital
The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly influenced the rapid expansion of digital health, from telehealth to wearbles to health-centric apps. With its ability to learn and adapt to users’ needs, break down barriers to care and be accessed from anywhere via smart devices, digital health is here to stay.
“Digital health was already more critical now than ever. This pandemic just made it even more urgent.” – David Osborne, CEO
Emerging as a key player in the digital health space are digital therapeutics, evidence-based technology-focused interventions akin to medical treatments designed to help individuals prevent, manage or treat chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, obesity and high blood pressure. With these most-at-risk individuals seeking to avoid exposure to COVID-19, the ability to access condition-specific tools in the safety of their own home can mean the difference between taking action against lifestyle-related disease and diving deeper into maladaptive habits that can further ill health.
We Could All Use a Little Extra Support
Having the right tools to get and stay healthy is great, but some people need more to stay on-track and motivated. Adding in health coaching and live services to your organization’s wellbeing platform completes the high-touch, one-on-one customizable experience, which is key to reaching the reluctant, non-digital savvy, or typically disengaged members of your population who need that accountability and human connection to make meaningful changes.
The whole-person coaching approach goes beyond self-care and health data to inspire long-term behavior change. Based on the needs of the individual and the organization, health coaching can be conducted either in-person or over the phone, with ongoing support through the wellbeing app’s daily healthy habit reminders and tips, care checklist, multi-modal curriculum and behavior tracking tools. This highly personalized experience can engage and empower even your hardest-to-reach people to adopt healthy lifestyle habits over time.
Putting It All Together
Your workforce might be dispersed, but your wellbeing solution should bring everything into a single, unified place. Whether your employees are working onsite or are remote, providing wellbeing-related resources and communications through one digital platform can ensure consistency and eliminate confusion for your workforce when it comes to accessing health information.
Supporting your population’s health with deep condition management, COVID-19 resources, content to underpin health equity and benefits awareness and navigation is easier to do when it all exists together. Your people will know where to find what they need, when they need it, wherever they are, empowering them to take the first steps to adopting the healthy habits that can aid in the management or reversal of these high-risk, preexisting conditions and could mean major savings in direct and indirect healthcare costs for your organization.