How Can Corporate Health and Wellness Programs Quantify mHealth ROI?


–  More than a third of the country’s companies are employing a corporate health program that involves mHealth wearables – and yet many are fighting to measure whether the program is successful.

Those conclusions come from the 2017 State of Corporate Wellness report, developed by digital health analytics firm Springbuk to get Fitbit. The analysis –and other recently published studies– paint the picture of a corporate America adopting mHealth and telehealth to improve employee health, but still uncertain regarding how ROI is described.

In data compiled from 100 firms ranked one of the “Healthiest Workplaces in America,” the research found that 35 percent are now utilizing fitness wearables in health programs, a 10 percent increase from the previous survey, obtained in 2015. Additionally, more than half are using technologies such as portals and mHealth programs to support those programs.

The results have been positive foe some companies: only under 12 percent of the surveyed saw a return of $2 to $3 for every dollar spent on health care, while nearly 3 per cent an ROI of $5 to $1.

But more than three-quarters of those companies stated they aren’t currently measuring a ROI from their wellness and health programs. And nearly a quarter didn’t know whether their program had helped employees decrease weight or blood pressure within the previous couple of years.

That disparity points to some issue with health programs companies haven’t yet figured out the way to equate health gains and employee health with an improved bottom line.

More importantly, it describes the distinction between the advantages of an employee program — health program expenditures or reduced health care expenses — and the outcomes that are hard-to-measure, such as employee health and morale.

“While it is easier for some to measure healthcare spend against medical claims, calculating the ROI of disease control and health measures is more difficult,” the report pointed out.

Before this year, Springbuk published a vendor-neutral report that additionally revealed that 35 percent of all companies are already using wearables, and nearly 50 percent were moving toward mHealth wearables as a way of reducing organizational costs and providing data to impose private health.

“We’re seeing more companies turn to wearables not just to give involvement and involvement information, but increasingly to help move the needle on efficacy of health programs in lowering health hazard and enhancing health outcomes,” Springbuk CEO Rod Reasen said then. “The information offered by wearables may also make actionable insights on how to commit your health dollars next year.”

With this latest announcement, Fitbit and Springbuk — whose wearable has been rated the top of five consumer-facing apparatus by employees in the survey that is earlier — join the dots between employee involvement and involvement and long-term discounts in healthcare costs.

“In the aggregate, wearable information may offer you profound insight into just how well participants are doing,” the report stated. “On the individual level, the feedback generated by wearables may be highly inspiring.”

“Users can observe how small behavior changes actually accumulate,” the report continued. “As their workout improves, their wearable will show how their behaviors are now paying off in terms of lower resting heart rate, higher blood oxygen levels, or more REM sleep.”

This, then, contributes to improved employee health. The report cites a 2015 analysis conducted by The Institute for Health and Productivity Studies at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, which found that employees who exercise more than 75 minutes a week missed 4.1 fewer times on the job per year, which individuals whose exercise habits were described as “inadequate” ended up improving the provider’s overall health care expenses by a 11 percent.

This past year, both Sprinbuk and Fitbit tackled this issue.

Back in September 2016, Fitbit showing that the Dayton Regional Transit Authority has stored a $2.3 million in employee costs savings and wholesome outcome since launch a Fitbit-based program in 2014.

The Ohio firm passed out wearables some more than 600 of its employees, also reported significant reductions in amounts and also LDL cholesterol levels in the calendar year.

“When you’re a bus driver, then sitting for eight hours each day is part of the job,” Mark Donaghy, the DRTA’s principal executive officer, stated in a press release. “We knew we needed to receive our employees moving to increase their wellness and our budget.”

Another study, conducted by Springbuk to a big, self-insured company with more than 20,000 employees, found that the 866 employees who participate in the Fitbit program saw their health care costs drop by a quarter than a control group — a savings of roughly $1,300 per person.

Studies and those studies play an important role in the medical business’s test of exercise wearables that are consumer-facing. Businesses like Fitbit have long sought to make a relationship with health care providers by proving that wearables may be utilized to influence health outcomes.     Providers, on the other hand, are slow to adopt devices offering information they control or can not verify.

Last October Amy McDonough, vice president and general director of Fitbit Group Health, that physicians ought to be focusing on info from wearables such as Fitbits since they give clues to individual involvement and satisfaction that other clinician-facing platforms can not.

“Fitbit information might not be that actionable in the EHR level, but you can make that info actionable at a layer that is over the EHR,” she explained. “Doctors need to understand how this information applies to them.”

That advice is true for the business world. Employers need to comprehend how employee participation and satisfaction with a corporate health and health system can translate into better business outcomes.

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