Disease Management Has Greater ROI Than Lifestyle Management in Workplace Health Programs

Molly Gamble (Twitter) - Print  | 

A new study in Health Affairs found disease management programs in the workplace lead to greater cost savings than lifestyle management.  
The study examined PepsiCo's Healthy Living program, which involves components such as health risk assessments, on-site wellness events, lifestyle management, disease management, a 24/7 nurse advice line and maternity management.

There were five distinct lifestyle management programs: weight management, nutrition management, fitness, stress management and smoking cessation. Disease management was offered to employees with at least one of 10 chronic conditions and focused on improving medication adherence and patient self-care knowledge and abilities.

The researchers found seven years of continuous participation in one or both of the programs was associated with an average reduction of $30 in healthcare costs per member per month. But when researchers looked at each component individually, they found the disease management component was associated with lower costs but the lifestyle management component was not.

The lifestyle management and disease management components were estimated to return an average of $0.48 and $3.78, respectively, for every dollar invested when both healthcare and absenteeism impacts were included.

The study found disease management reduced healthcare costs by $136 per member per month, driven by a 29 percent reduction in hospital admissions. Participants who joined both the lifestyle management and the disease management components of the program were linked to a reduction in healthcare costs of $160 per member per month and a 66 percent reduction in hospital admissions.

"Participation in lifestyle management interventions is associated with a small decrease in absenteeism but has no statistically significant effect on healthcare costs," the study found. Still, the authors note that a lack of financial return does not imply that lifestyle management cannot create value. The program was found to have a significant effect on absenteeism, and cited survey data suggests the most common reason employers offer wellness programs is to improve employee health and attract and retain talent.

More Articles on Hospitals and Wellness Programs:

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One Size Fits One: Creating an Effective Hospital Employee Wellness Program
U.S. Hospital Employee Wellness Strategies Fall Behind Other Industries

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