|Jun 01 2016
Wellness programs for chronic diseases ROI
By: Rob Lynn
According to the American Heart Association, over 85 million Americans are living with some form of cardiovascular disease, and company wellness programs have the real potential of providing them some help. The study, conducted by HealthMine asked 501 people enrolled in a health plan that had been diagnosed with heart disease or were deemed at high risk for developing heart disease found that:
• 38 percent were enrolled in a wellness program.
• 43 percent of those individuals said they discovered their heart condition or high risk through their wellness program.
• 68 percent of respondents who enrolled in wellness programs also had access to a chronic-disease management program.
• 86 percent of those with access participated in their disease management program.
• 79 percent said their program helps them to manage their health care costs.
• 61 percent said they have their condition “completely under control.”
Direct and indirect costs of cardiovascular diseases and stroke total more than $320.1 billion in the U.S. annually, taking into account health expenditures and lost productivity, according to the American Heart Association’s 2015 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Update.
Diabetes is another chronic health concern that has a significant impact on the cost of healthcare as well as loss of productivity at the workplace. 86 million Americans are estimated to have prediabetes, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If prediabetes is not effectively managed, there is a significant risk of developing type 2 diabetes, which is associated with higher medical costs.
Research has clearly shown that people with prediabetes can reduce their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 58 percent if they lose 5 to 7 percent of their body weight through a structured lifestyle program aimed at weight loss, dietary change and an increase in physical activity.
Wellness programs can have a positive bottom-line impact for those companies willing to invest the time and dollars. Those programs that focus on employees with chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension had a very strong Return on Investment. The lifestyle management component that promotes healthy behavior (fitness & diet) to those employees that don’t have chronic medical conditions do not yield a great deal of dollar savings, but they make up for it in regards to workplace culture and better performance.
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