Utilizing Population Health Management to Grow Business Outcomes Through Data Transparency

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Use Data Analytics & Population Health Management to Build a more Effective Total Rewards Program

A well planned Total Rewards Program can make a big difference for an organization in attracting and retaining a multigenerational workforce. A Total Rewards Program includes: compensation, benefits (health and welfare, wellness plans, and retirement options), work-life flexibility, performance and recognition, and growth and development opportunities. Programs not only have to be aligned with the needs of employees but also support and achieve an organization’s goals to be effective. When it comes to employee health and wellbeing, maintaining a productive and positive workforce, and controlling healthcare costs it’s important that they are all aligned.

Data Can Tell the Story

While availability and access to data today have made it possible for organizations to get a full picture of their healthcare spending and how it stands up against other organizations, the real benefit comes in analyzing the data to determine the root causes behind rising costs. Knowing, for example, that employee hospital stays average 15% longer for your company when benchmarked against other organizations is relevant information to have at hand. Although, knowing why your employees’ average hospital stay is longer could make a difference in enabling you to improve employee health outcomes and manage and reduce costs. In analyzing the data, do you find that the majority of employees with more extended hospital stays have one or more comorbidities, such as diabetes, obesity, or coronary artery disease? The existence of a comorbidity could have impacted patient recovery for the primary illness behind the hospital stay. Clinical insights behind existing health conditions can represent meaningful health opportunities for improvement for both employees and employers.

Unhealthy Risks & Behaviors on Productivity and Their Impact

Eighty percent of all chronic illness costs are related to an individual’s unhealthy risks and behaviors, like poor diet, physical inactivity, smoking, lack of healthcare screening, low standard of care, poor stress management, lack of sleep, and excessive alcohol intake. These risks and behaviors cause chronic conditions, such as diabetes, coronary artery disease, hypertension, back pain, obesity, cancer, depression, and high cholesterol. In turn it increases healthcare spending. Take a look at some statistics on diabetes*, which is among the most expensive chronic conditions in our nation, and often the result of an unhealthy lifestyle:

  • $1 out of every $4 in U.S. healthcare costs is spent on caring for people with diabetes
  • $237 billion is spent each year on direct medical costs and another $90 billion on reduced productivity
  • Total economic cost of diabetes rose 60% from 2007 to 2017
  • 48% to 64% of lifetime medical costs for a person with diabetes are for complications related to diabetes, such as heart disease and stroke

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), smoking-related illnesses in the U.S. cost more than $300 billion, of which about $170 billion is for direct medical costs for adults and $156 billion is in lost productivity (CDC). Individuals with insomnia cost employers an extra $976 per person per year due to absenteeism alone. 

Workplace Wellness Programs Minimize Health Risks

While individuals are responsible and accountable for their own health, organizations, through employer-sponsored wellness programs that incorporate lifestyle risk-reduction strategies, can make real impacts in healthcare cost savings, improved employee satisfaction and productivity, and better business performance. Implementing effective wellness programs can help minimize health risks while also supporting healthy behaviors. With the right data, you can analyze your wellness program’s effectiveness and its impact on your healthcare costs and productivity.

It’s important that a wellness program strategy provides choice, flexibility, and personalization for employees to choose their own engagement. Providing additional platforms during the pandemic has grown important, including telehealth options and digital interventions for mental health, is critical, with remote work the norm in many cases and onsite wellness programs limited.

Another factor as a result of COVID-19 is the disruption in care. Preventive care services decreased during the first several months of the pandemic. If the data shows a reduction in cancer screenings among your workforce during the past year, part of your wellness program may encourage employees to get these screenings to help mitigate potential future issues. 

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