Karen Andalman's blog
A well managed Disease Management Program helps to reduce costs for the employer, because they eliminate unnecessary emergency room visits and reduce hospital admissions for these patients. Large claims are potentially avoided through proactive interventions. Some of the most common conditions that are managed within a Disease Management Program are: diabetes, high cholesterol, congestive heart failure, hypertension, asthma, depression and maternity.
“More than 40% of Americans have one or more chronic conditions, and people with chronic diseases account for 75% of health spending in this country. About 58 million nonelderly adults have at least one chronic condition. About 60% of people with chronic disease are working-age adults,” according to a recent study published in Health Affairs.
Hypertension, diabetes and pulmonary conditions, such as asthma, are contributable to high dollar claims in an employer’s benefit plan. Many of these patients tend to be non-compliant: not taking prescribed medications, lack of adherence to doctor’s orders, and self denial (believing that I am not like the rest of the people that have this disease). Patients also tend to use lack of time or lack of financial resources as excuses not to take preventative measures to prevent future progression of their disease.
Is a self reporting assessment tool too subjective? There have been a number of articles written lately about the validity of information obtained by having employees complete a health risk assessment (HRA). HRA’s are a “self-reporting” tool that employer groups use to analyze trends; they can be used to look at the health of a population. They can be seen as one tool that an employer uses to implement a comprehensive wellness program. HRA’s should not be the only piece of the program. Just offering an incentive to complete the HRA and stopping there doesn’t provide the employees with the necessary information to make lifestyle changes.
Wellness coaching typically leads to 20% to 40% fewer surgeries, 20% to 30% fewer doctor visits and 20% to 30% fewer hospital admissions, according to Mary Jane Favazza, senior vice president of service delivery at Health Dialog.
That could represent significant cost savings for employers and patients. Wellness coaching is a high touch program that companies offer to their employees so that they can have an opportunity to work with a highly trained professional, usually a registered nurse certified wellness coach that can help them make lifestyle or behavioral changes. Most programs focus on weight management, nutrition, smoking cessation and stress management. A certified wellness coach offers strategies for sustainable lifestyle related behaviors. Additional professional resources may include dieticians, nutritionists and exercise physiologists. Educational materials and internet resources are also incorporated into the individualized program.
“Your metabolism is basically a series of chemical reactions that take place in your body,” says Trent Nessler, PT, DPT, MPT, managing director of Baptist Sports Medicine in Nashville. “Staying hydrated keeps those chemical reactions moving smoothly. Being even 1% dehydrated can cause a significant drop in metabolism”.
Most people don’t drink enough water during the course of an average day. They aren’t really aware of how much water they are drinking and most people aren’t drinking enough water. Dehydration is a very common problem, and you don’t even realize the impact.
Here are some tips from the experts for proper water consumption:
Meritain Health recently compiled an assessment report aggregating the results of the screenings of 10,000 corporate employees. The sample population was 52.6% female, 61.5% male and 61.5% over the age of 40. The findings showed that:
- 61.5% over the age of 40 are at risk for common conditions such as colon cancer, coronary artery disease and congestive heart failure
- 42.9% had undiagnosed, untreated medical conditions
- 37% were overweight ,which can lead to diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol
- 44.3% had high cholesterol, which can lead to blocked arteries
- 16.1% were diagnosed with newly discovered risk factors
- 2.1% were diagnosed with serious medical conditions that required immediate medical attention