online chronic condition program offers patients a return on investment and enhances ability to self manage health conditions

Dec. 1, 2010 | Pittsburgh, Pa. -

A study conducted by HealthMedia, Inc. and Highmark Inc., published in the November/December edition of the American Journal of Health Promotion, proves that an online program offers a return on investment and enhances a patient's ability to self manage chronic health conditions.

The study, which took place over the course of five years, analyzed data of members who participated in HealthMedia® CARE® for Your Health, an online digital health coaching program designed to teach participants the skills they need to help manage any chronic condition.

Outcomes from the study showed that 93 percent of Highmark members reported to be better able to manage their conditions. Health care costs per person per year were $757 less than predicted for participants relative to the matched nonparticipants. This cost savings yielded a return on investment of $9.89 for every dollar spent on the program, after one year of participation.

"This study demonstrates the ability members have to make positive and appropriate changes in managing a chronic condition if they are simply provided the tools," said Dr. Donald Fischer, Highmark senior vice president and chief medical officer. "It also shows that the entire health care system can save significant amounts of health care dollars by managing chronic conditions."

Additional outcomes included a 35 percent increase in participants receiving flu shots, 16 percent increase in Pap tests, 34 percent increase in fecal occult blood testing and a 12 percent increase in mammogram appointments.

Self-reported outcomes, a comparison on health risk assessment data and a claims analysis that compared health care costs to a matched group of nonparticipants were taken into consideration when analyzing the data.

Chronic conditions continue to impact productivity and performance. For every 1,000 working Americans, an estimated 1,221 work days are lost each year as a result of asthma, diabetes and hypertension alone, costing employers billions of dollars each year.

HealthMedia® CARE® for Your Health is just one online intervention tool offered to Highmark members. With its positive intervention outcomes and impact on health care costs, it will continue to serve as a complement to other online health management programs proven to make a difference in members' health.