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Managing Chronic Conditions

A thought leadership piece by Jennifer Jones, Director of Health Strategy
It’s no secret the impact Type 2 diabetes has on the overall cost of healthcare. According to the American Diabetes Association, the total costs of diagnosed diabetes have risen to $327 billion annually (up 26% from five years ago). With over 30 million Americans diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and another 84 million suspected to have pre-diabetes, the ongoing cost for the care and management of the condition will likely continue to rise.

While it is estimated that Americans with Type 2 diabetes have healthcare costs 2.3 times higher than those without the condition, employers are struggling to contain the cost and address management of their members.

What’s important to note is Type 2 diabetes commonly occurs with other chronic conditions, making the disease even more difficult to manage. In fact, 98% of Type 2 diabetics have a comorbid condition, and 90% have two or more of these conditions - the most common being high blood pressure, overweight/obesity, and high cholesterol.


The American Diabetes Association has identified that beyond the direct medical costs, indirect costs of the disease such as increased absenteeism, reduced productivity, and even disability contribute to over $90 billion lost annually. What we commonly miss is the additional costs and burden of a complicated and involved disease such as the intangible pain and suffering, resources from family and other caregivers, and the burden associated with undiagnosed diabetes.


What if we could prevent members from developing Type 2 diabetes and eliminate the physical and emotional toll of the disease?

What if we could prevent a disease that over 90% of the time is combined with another chronic condition?

What if we could prevent disease with data?


That is exactly what Springbuk has set out to do. By using AI-driven predictive models, our Event Detection Algorithm™ (EDA) can find members that are likely to have a future diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes based on their diagnostic profile and patterns of behavior and by incorporating probabilistic models.

By identifying these members and addressing their existing risk and conditions, we have the opportunity to prevent diabetes. This could eliminate the physical and mental toll a diagnosis can take - as well as the added direct and indirect costs of the disease and other common comorbidities.


It’s critical to fully understand the impact of intervention before diagnosis as we think about the progression of Type 2 diabetes. A member could exhibit symptoms up to 10 years prior to a diagnosis and common symptoms can include blurred vision and headaches, weight gain, frequent urination/urinary infections, and fatigue. Multiple years of undiagnosed symptoms, such as these, often lead to added stress, depression, and decreased productivity.

Once diagnosed, the member will go through extensive education and training to best manage their new diagnosis and the effects on other existing conditions. This adjustment can create additional stress in adjusting to a new lifestyle and the effects it has on the whole family, and even coworkers. Additional risk can further emerge with ER utilization or possible inpatient admissions if blood sugars are not managed properly contributing to the additional financial burden, lost work, and added recovery time.


Across the Springbuk Health Intelligence platform, over 289,000 individuals are forecasted to have a diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes that currently have no medical or pharmacy claims for diabetes. As the future of healthcare shifts from reactive to proactive, we have a tremendous opportunity to work with employers and vendors to surface issues, predict their impact, and tailor programs and with proper education to mitigate the ongoing risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.


One organization, in particular, One Drop, a leader in healthy lifestyle and condition management programs, has partnered with Springbuk to enable employers to take control of their healthcare costs while simultaneously empowering employees to make more informed decisions for healthier lives.

One Drop’s industry-leading digital diabetes education program was the first ever to be recognized by the American Diabetes Association and has since been expanded to offer programs for pre-diabetes, weight management, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Now with the reinforcement of Springbuk Insights, One Drop can target chronic conditions, like diabetes, in employee populations to provide additional value to employers by offering solutions to drive down the cost of care.


Read more about the One Drop + Springbuk partnership here.

Sources:
www.mayoclinic.org
www.diabetes.org
Emotional and Psychological Needs of People with Diabetes. Indian Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2018 Sept-Oct; 22(5): 696-704
www.healio.com Prevalence of comorbidities high in type 2 diabetes
www.healthline.com