SOURCE: Virgin HealthMiles
BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - Sep 27, 2012) - There's a reason why old adages stick around. This week, we saw that "the best laid plans ... often go awry" found new relevancy. New data reported by The New York Times shows that some health innovations like Electronic Medical Records (EMRs) may have driven higher healthcare costs -- just the opposite of what was promised. Sadly, many health innovations like this have yet to deliver what's really needed -- lower healthcare costs. Fortunately, new health technology innovations in the world of prevention are actually saving money, says Virgin HealthMiles. And, they're making a difference before there's even a chance for a medical bill to go out the door.
Containing healthcare costs is a complex problem. But Virgin HealthMiles sees a simple solution: keep people out of the system before they get sick.
"It may seem like an overly simple solution for such a big problem. But consider this: 75% of today's healthcare costs are driven by often preventable and highly manageable chronic diseases, like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some forms of cancer," says Chris Boyce, CEO, Virgin HealthMiles. "The real culprits behind these conditions are our own choices and behaviors. That means changing the trends is within our control. Instead of shifting money into health technologies that drive costs, it's time to focus on ones that save money. And employers across the country are taking note."
Organizations are increasingly using employee health and wellness programs as a key strategy to create healthier, less costly workforces. Recently, Virgin HealthMiles conducted a survey and found 83% of employers say they offer health and wellness benefits to their employees, with 81% stating their top priority with these programs is to reduce healthcare costs. And that's exactly what Virgin HealthMiles helps them do.
Virgin HealthMiles provides technologies and programming that help people get healthy. True to the company's Virgin roots, the focus is on the consumer and creating compelling digital health experiences that motivate and enable people to make sustainable behavior changes. In doing so, the company helps employers solve two major problems: making sure employees are aware of, understand and know how to engage in the range of health and wellness programs they offer; and getting the data and insights they need to make actionable decisions that positively impact their employee health and wellness strategies. This approach is proven to work:
- In one year, 29-50% of HealthMiles participants moved from inactive to active; 21% of hypertensive or pre-hypertensive participants moved down a full category; 14% moved from "above recommended" body fat percentage to within a healthy range; and 9% of obese/overweight participants moved down at least one full BMI category.
- In an 18-month study of 11,000 HealthMiles members, 50% of participants who were inactive at the start of the program achieved and exceeded CDC-recommended levels of physical activity.
- HealthMiles members are 2.5 times more active than the average U.S. adult, according to a study of more than 100,000 members
Behavior shifts like this have significant outcomes. "While clients have watched national healthcare costs increase 9% on average over the past 10 years, many are reporting their own costs are remaining flat or decreasing after implementing our programs," said Boyce. "One client who conducted an analysis of its own medical claims data found HealthMiles participants had the lowest costs and claims trends. Those who didn't participate had the highest. Another client witnessed a sharp, $3 million decrease in employee-only medicals claims after just one year with the program."
Boyce added, "Don't get us wrong. Health innovations like electronic medical records certainly offer their share of benefits. But let's not be fooled into thinking these will include meaningful cost savings in the near term. We need to tackle what's really driving healthcare costs up -- health. Prevention is the key to sustained savings. And prevention-focused health technologies are driving healthy behaviors that result in true cost savings."
About Virgin HealthMiles
Virgin HealthMiles, part of Sir Richard Branson's famed Virgin Group, provides programs and technologies that engage your workforce in good health. Leveraging Virgin's deep consumer roots, we create compelling, personalized digital health experiences that drive long-term healthy behavior change and employee engagement rates more than three times the industry average. Our range of Pay-for-Prevention™ solutions and program integration capabilities: drive higher awareness and engagement across multiple providers and programs; deliver better measurement and insight into the impact of your investments; and power your overall employee health strategy. Our easy-to-deploy and manage solutions feature a rich array of proven behavior change strategies, including: game mechanics, financial incentives, social networking, and many more. Over 130 industry leaders representing more than 700,000 employees have selected Virgin HealthMiles' award-winning programs for their employees. Learn more at www.virginhealthmiles.com.