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Musculoskeletal Health: A Real Pain in the Back

November 27, 2019 / Corporate Wellness

Written By: Jessica Cooper

Think of a chronic health condition that could have more impact on your organization’s wellbeing than almost any other. What would that be?

Diabetes would be a good guess. So would heart disease and mental health. But no other chronic health condition impacts more lost workdays and more healthcare spend than musculoskeletal (MSK) back pain. MSK lower back pain is the leading cause of disability globally and the number one reason for missing work. In the U.S., it results in more than 260 million lost workdays each year as well as significant healthcare and disability insurance costs.

At the organizational level, nearly one in four employees report experiencing lower back pain at any one time, leading to lost productivity and medical treatments. In fact, one dollar out of every six that employers spend on healthcare is due to MSK conditions. People with MSK lower back pain also have an average of five related conditions that complicate care, including chronic fatigue (41 percent of cases), depression (29 percent of cases), and obesity (8 percent of cases). Clearly, our healthcare system’s standard of care is lacking.

Improving Musculoskeletal Health With Digital Therapeutics

That’s the bad news. So what’s the good news? By tapping into technology already used by your employees, a solution is closer than you might think. In fact, MSK wellness using digital therapeutics offers tremendous potential for reduced healthcare spend, increased job satisfaction and better health outcomes overall.

Digital therapeutics are defined as high-quality software programs designed to prevent, manage, or treat a medical disorder or disease. Leveraging the convenience of today’s smartphone technology, digital therapeutics take a holistic mind-body approach, combining the benefits of evidence-based therapeutic and online learning methods with high-touch, AI-driven, one-on-one interaction.

Considering our costly, fragmented U.S. healthcare system – which is designed for acute, urgent care – it’s no surprise that chronic care needs are an increasing concern and growing organizational expense. What might be surprising, however, is that the best way to save money and time is to move away from the MSK standard of care (in-clinic physical therapy, medication and surgery) and toward digital therapeutics.

The Benefits of Digital Health Solutions

Applying digital therapeutics to MSK conditions presents organizations with an easy-to-use, scalable and affordable option to one of the nation’s most challenging and costly chronic health challenges. Imagine being able to take a proactive, evidence-based approach to musculoskeletal pain while saving money, increasing engagement and improving wellbeing. Addressing chronic health conditions with a holistic mind-body approach could be one of the most rewarding and cost-effective approaches your organization can take.

For corporate wellness programs, this unique approach can deliver app-based MSK therapies that are as good or better than traditional physical therapy programs at a fraction of the cost. For you and your organization, it can mean:

  • Direct medical cost savings
  • Increased productivity and engagement
  • Reduced disability claims
  • Prevention of future medical costs
  • Increased ability to attract and retain the best talent

Most of your employees are already digitally engaged, payers are adopting and integrating digital health solutions into their offerings, and your competitors are investing in the most innovative digital health solutions for their own workforces. Now, it’s your turn!

Check out my webinar replay with Gary Smithson, Medical Director at Virgin Pulse, to learn how investing in a digital therapeutic MSK solution can add value to your wellbeing program, motivate and engage employees, attract and keep the best talent and improve productivity and job satisfaction.

Watch the webinar!

About Kaia Health

Kaia Health is an advanced digital health solution and an integrated partner with Virgin Pulse that offers members a digital therapeutic platform specifically designed for musculoskeletal health. Their evidence-based approach drives value, boosts engagement and improves health outcomes with a personalized approach to MSK wellness.

About The Author

Jessica Cooper is the Director at Kaia Health.

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