Population Health Management. It may sound somewhat Orwellian, but companies that embrace this comprehensive approach to disease control are finding it a potential life saver and a proven cost saver.
Population health management is a clinically-based preventative care process that stresses early detection, testing and aggressive follow-up of company employees before health problems take hold. And it goes well beyond traditional wellness care.
Employees are being assessed for disease before they are symptomatic, rather than after they become ill and start incurring medical costs, states Jim Banks, CEO of Interactive Health Solutions, Inc, (IHS), the leader in the field. Employers and employees can take an active role in their own healthcare through our program, allowing them to assert some control over costs.
With true preventative and follow-up care that involve a high percentage of employees at each company, those firms that have fully embraced the IHS program have seen savings of as much as $2,850 per employee per year.
ItÂ™s simple. People who donÂ™t get sick cost less money, states Joseph OÂ™Brien, IHS president. But population health management also saves lives. IHS screenings have revealed life-threatening conditions among some client employees.
A National Issue
IHSÂ™ research indicates that in a typical company, as many as 58 percent of employees have medical conditions that are unknown and/or not being treated, and require some type of medical intervention. We work to stop the employee population of our client companies from trickling into the healthcare system due to a lack of preventative care, says Joe OÂ™Brien, IHS president.
A 2007 study recentlyÂ completed by Zoe Consulting, Inc., Catawba, SC, showed that, for IHS participants, the actual medical cost growth rate was 54 percent less than the medical cost growth rates for non-participants.
Medical problems also carry a high price tag in lost productivity. IHSÂ™ data shows that companies with the unhealthiest employees have higher workmenÂ™s compensation and short-term disability costs. Further, IHS also sees rates of presenteeism (employees that are at work Â“ but not performing) decrease by 41 percent. The health of the employerÂ™s balance sheet is directly proportionate to the health of its employees, says Banks.
Notably, the cost of the entire 12-month IHS preventative care program per employee amounts to less than if an employee had visited his or her physician for one regular check-up. As such, the IHS program serves as a healthcare Â˜detective,Â™ finding symptoms and indicators before they become treatable diseases. Doctors are not normally paid to prevent disease, they are called on to treat them, says OÂ™Brien. What we are trying to accomplish is to focus on healthy people who choose to remain that way.
Identifying Excellence; Producing Results
For the first time, IHS has culled its client base of 1,000 companies using its program to find those that had achieved the best results overall, improved the most, or had the best results in their fields, for 2007. This search culminated in IHS naming 48 companies as the Healthiest Companies in America. The Award is based on clinical evaluations of employee participants in several key health metrics known as the Interactive Health Index (the IHI). A full list of the winning companies can be found at www.healthiestcompanies.com.
The IHI, developed in conjunction with physicians and other healthcare professionals, tests for indicators of heart disease, diabetes, smoking and other measures of health status that are at least in part controllable by the individual.
The program begins with employee Health Evaluations held on-site at each employer location, conducted by IHSÂ™ medical staff. Within 48 hours of the evaluation, IHS issues a report to each employee that summarizes the results of 36 different blood analyses. The report states in clinically objective terms what the individualÂ™s risks are, and where there are opportunities for improvement, explains OÂ™Brien.
Results of the annual IHS screening often lead to employees taking the next steps in treatment and/or lifestyle changes. A customized course of action is recommended following review of the IHI score by the IHS medical staff. IHS then provides medical resources, in-person health courses and online information about specific conditions. IHS also keeps in regular contact with each employee with reminders, status details and helpful recommendations.
IHS is proud to recognize the achievements Â“ and especially, the commitment — of the winning companies and their employees, says Banks. The impact of preventative care extends from the individual employee, who may enjoy a longer, more active life, to the employer, who gains healthier, more productive workers, and an effective means of impacting healthcare costs.
Interactive Health Solutions, Inc. (IHS) provides turnkey population health management programs to companies nationwide. Program services are clinically based and fully HIPAA compliant. For more information, contact IHS at 800-840-6100, or visit www.healthiestcompanies.com.
Joseph O’Brien, President, (847)754-2712
Robert Reed, Media Relations, (630) 579-1770
Guy Tichy, Media Relations, (224) 653-8875