We were privileged to attend the recent Aon Annual Health Forum. One of the biggest topics of discussion was chronic health conditions and their impact on healthcare spending. The statistics are staggering:
- Chronic diseases account for 75-80% of all medical costs
- 1 out of 2 employees have a chronic disease
- 1 out 4 employees have 2 or more chronic diseases
- 40% of chronic patients are not compliant with doctor plan requests
- 70% of chronic patients are not compliant with lifestyle changes requested by their doctors
It is no wonder then that 54% of employers say that improving the management of chronic conditions is their top healthcare strategy goal.
The compliance stats are particularly disturbing given the general availability of high quality healthcare. Studies show that chronically affected employees site cost of treatment, side effects of treatment, complexity of regimen, and co-morbid depression as the main reasons for noncompliance.
Where to Start
As an employer, your first step should be identifying and targeting the top chronic conditions within your employee base. Nationwide, the top chronic conditions are diabetes, heart disease, musculoskeletal conditions, and cancer. Obesity is also a leading contributor to the amount spent on medical procedures. However, conditions will vary by geography, demographics, environment, society factors, and heredity.
From there it is important to focus on conditions and employees with the highest risk. Once an employer is equipped with this crucial data, they can put in place measures that focus on both patient AND provider. For high risk employees a high touch solution typically shows the best results, while lower risk employees often do well with high tech solutions.
Helping to bring chronic conditions under control and providing lasting, measurable improvement is not only good healthcare sense, it is good business sense. The trickle down effect can be significant. Decreased ER room and hospitalization admissions, as well as lowered pharmaceutical spending directly affect overall healthcare spending. In addition, decreased absenteeism and higher productivity mean improved ROI.
How else do you know whether an impact is being achieved? Having analytics at your fingertips is vital. With vendors you want to develop condition specific metrics. Internally, you want a comprehensive database that compiles and sorts data; one that allows you to segment and track claims and spending. While the numbers on chronic diseases are distressing, they can be changed.
Interested in learning more about how a fully integrated healthcare expense management platform can help your company with healthcare spending, including for chronic diseases? Schedule a demo of AdminaHealth today.