Individual Well-Being a Strong Predictor of Healthcare Utilization and Costs

New Data Reveals Higher Well-Being Results in Fewer Hospital Admissions and Emergency Room Visits, Resulting in Lower Medical and Pharmacy Costs

PHILADELPHIA--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- An individual’s well-being is a clear indicator of future healthcare utilization and expenditures, according to a new study published today in Population Health Management, a peer-reviewed international publication that covers the clinical and business aspects of population health management.

The data, conducted on 2,245 individuals, found that for every one point increase in well-being on a 100-point scale, participants were less likely to have a hospital admission (2.2%), an emergency room visit (1.7%) or to incur any healthcare costs (1%). In addition, well-being proved lowest among individuals who incurred more than $20,000 - and was highest among those who incurred less than $5,000 - in total healthcare costs.

“The study shows that well-being is a strong predictor of near-term utilization and healthcare expenditures,” said James Pope, vice president and chief science officer of Healthways and one of the study’s authors. “Furthermore, it may prove to be a valuable tool for identifying individuals or groups that could benefit from programs aimed at improving well-being and for evaluating the effectiveness of such initiatives.”

Well-being scores, as measured by Healthways Well-Being Assessment (WBA), were evaluated with respect to hospital utilization and healthcare expenditure drawn from two years of health insurance claims data. Data in the 12 months prior to administration of the WBA were used to control for other factors known to be predictive, such as prior cost and utilization. Controlling for these factors, outcomes were assessed for the 12 months following the administration of the WBA. The relationship between well-being and healthcare utilization/costs was independent of age.

“High well-being is associated with reduced hospitalizations and ER visits and lower healthcare claims cost,” said Pope. “Given the wide variance in Well-Being that has been demonstrated between states - and even within local communities - this study magnifies the importance of having a well-being improvement strategy in place at work and in the community. These finding help advance the business case for business and government leaders to take action.”

The full study can be found by clicking here.

About Healthways

Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY) is the leading provider of specialized, comprehensive solutions to help millions of people maintain or improve their health and well-being and, as a result, reduce overall costs. Healthways’ solutions are designed to help healthy individuals stay healthy, mitigate or eliminate lifestyle risk factors that can lead to disease and optimize care for those with chronic illness. Our proven, evidence-based programs provide highly specific and personalized interventions for each individual in a population, irrespective of age or health status, and are delivered to consumers by phone, mail, internet and face-to-face interactions, both domestically and internationally. Healthways also provides a national, fully accredited complementary and alternative Health Provider Network and a national Fitness Center Network, offering convenient access to individuals who seek health services outside of, and in conjunction with, the traditional healthcare system. For more information, please visit


Kelly Motley, 615-614-4984
[email protected]

KEYWORDS:   United States  North America  Pennsylvania

INDUSTRY KEYWORDS:   Health  Fitness & Nutrition  Public Policy/Government  Healthcare Reform  Other Policy Issues  General Health