As of 2015, Nearly 10% of Americans have diabetes. That’s 30.3 million people. Of that, nearly a quarter are undiagnosed (7.2 million Americans). And every year, 1.5 million more Americans will be diagnosed. It’s a growing disease that affects men, women, and children. It shortens lives, reduces quality of life for millions, and impacts the workplace more than ever before. And for many who have not been diagnosed, it’s a seemingly symptom-less disease that may not be discovered for years.
But what if we could personalize a healthcare solution that helps people cope with the root causes of this disease? What if we could become partners in health with patients who need a personal touch? What if we could tackle the threat of diabetes before it progresses to diabetes?
Lifestyle Factors and Prediabetes
Type 2 diabetes accounts for 90-95% of diabetes diagnoses and is often called a lifestyle disease. It is associated with modern lifestyles that include too little movement and too much sugar and saturated fat. While genetics can play a role in type 2 diabetes diagnoses, the growth of diabetes around the globe is more closely linked with poor diet. It’s also a condition with common comorbidities that include hypertension, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, and obesity.
In fact, diabetic retinopathy is the leading cause of blindness in adults, while eight out of ten individuals with diabetes will die prematurely from a cardiovascular event. In total, there’s a two- to four-fold increase in cardiovascular mortality and stroke in those with diabetes.
While it is one of the most common diseases in America, what often gets left out of the conversation is the condition that precedes diabetes: prediabetes. According to the CDC’s 2017 National Diabetes Statistics Report, an estimated 33.9% of Americans aged 18 or older had prediabetes in 2015. Almost half (48.3%) of adults aged 65 or older had prediabetes.
And here’s the complicating issue: only 8% of adults aged 18-44 were aware they had prediabetes. Likewise, 13% of adults aged 45-64 and 14% of adults aged 65 and older were similarly aware. How do you go about treating a disease you’re not yet aware you have?
Prediabetes to Diabetes: Rising Costs
When prediabetes is left untreated, it progresses to diabetes. In 2017, the total cost of diagnosed diabetes in the U.S. was $327 billion dollars. That includes $237 billion in direct medical costs and $90 billion in reduced productivity due to absenteeism and presenteeism (being present at work but unproductive).
According to a 2018 survey from Willis Towers Watson, metabolic syndrome and diabetes rank as the top clinical concern for employers. And for good reason: those with diagnosed diabetes faced medical expenditures that were 2.3 times higher than expenditures for those without diabetes.
According to 2017 research from the American Diabetes Association, the previous five years saw a 26% increase in diabetes-related costs. What does that mean for the average person with diabetes? Yearly medical expenditures totaling an estimated $16,750, of which $9,600 of is attributed to the condition.
Healthstat’s Diabetes Management Solution
When it comes to reimagining how diabetes might be treated in the U.S., the first step is to identify those at risk for the disease. Consider this: available studies show that, at the
time of diagnosis, patients with diabetes may have already lost 50% of their pancreatic beta cells, which are in part responsible for producing insulin. Studies suggest that this decline in beta cell mass precedes the onset of diabetes by almost a decade.
For this reason, Healthstat’s diabetes management program begins with the Health Risk Assessment. This assessment takes only minutes for a patient to complete but offers a baseline evaluation of an employee population by measuring for metabolic risk factors and diabetes precursors like high blood glucose, high BMI, hypertension (high blood pressure), and hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol and triglycerides).
What’s more, by using Healthstat’s fingerstick test during an HRA, a patient’s baseline measurements can be measured and recorded within minutes. A Healthstat clinician (or Health Coach) is onsite to talk through these results with individuals at increased risk and set up a clinic visit for them right away. That way, a patient who may not have known they face the threat of diabetes can see a health professional and begin a care plan as soon as possible.
Clinician Training, Always Evolving
An early diagnosis and awareness of prediabetes is a solid start, but what happens when it’s time to create a diabetes care plan that will vary from patient to patient? Healthstat’s diabetes management program heavily emphasizes clinician training to be educated and accountable for the comprehensive nature of a diabetes diagnosis.
While referring out to a Certified Diabetes Educator or an area specialist is sometimes necessary—which takes valuable time and effort for a newly diagnosed patient already under stress—Healthstat clinicians are trained in a two-part ongoing diabetes education program to provide point-of-care guidance.
The first part of the program covers the baseline knowledge of the disease, including the necessary labs to test for it, the prescriptions most often needed to treat the disease, and healthy behaviors for those living with diabetes. The second part of the program covers nutrition and fitness, along with tips on coaching and actionable goals a clinician can provide to patients for ideal long-term outcomes.
In addition to diabetes training, Healthstat clinicians are taught how to correctly chart and record each patient’s care plan and quickly recognize gaps in care to modify their plan when needed. Our customized electronic medical records system is equipped with diabetes management tools that enable patients and clinicians to create always-evolving care plans optimized to each individual’s current lifestyle and habits. At the same time, it facilitates back-end data analysis of the program’s success at a population level to guide continuous process improvement. This makes decision support both intuitive and backed by recorded data.
Two Management Programs, One Goal in Mind
Healthstat understands that a diabetes diagnosis is a life-altering change that requires education, empathy, and engagement. With this in mind, two management programs have been developed to provide full coverage for all patients living with diabetes, whether it’s a new diagnosis, a years-long struggle, or a condition that’s successfully under control.
Diabetes Self-Management Program (DSMP)
- Length: 1 year
- Purpose: teach patients about diabetes causes, effects, and symptoms
- Target audience: recommended for patients who are newly diagnosed with diabetes or who have uncontrolled/unmanaged diabetes
- Goal: empower patients as their own Healthcare Advocates—educated healthcare consumers who know how to manage their diabetes, what questions to ask, and what healthy choices and behaviors work within their own lives
Healthy Behaviors for Diabetes Management (HBDM)
- Length: ongoing
- Purpose: partner with patients in their diabetes journey and offer tools, classes, and programs to assist in maintaining control of their condition
- Target audience: recommended for patients who have completed the DSMP and whose diabetes is under control/managed
- Goal: turn every diabetes diagnosis into one of controlled management—healthy weight, managed glucose numbers, and low stress that makes for a healthy lifestyle
The foundation of both these programs comprises the seven self-care behaviors for long-term diabetes control from the American Association of Diabetes Educators (AADE):
- Healthy eating
- Being active
- Glucose monitoring
- Taking medication
- Problem solving
- Reducing risks
- Healthy coping
Additionally, as part of the diabetes program module, Healthstat clinicians go beyond the diagnosis and ask questions that relate to a patient’s lifestyle, like their current stress levels, eating habits, and exercise regimen. It’s a continual conversation: Healthstat clinicians regularly reach out to program participants to discuss how they are doing with their individual plan. Through the patient’s preferred method of text, phone call, or email, the Healthstat healthcare team reaches out so people know we are walking alongside them in their health journey.
Diabetes is About More Than Glucose Numbers
While Healthstat’s two-pronged program approach covers diagnoses in younger and older patients, with newly diagnosed or well-managed diabetes, the disease is about more than watching glucose levels and waistlines. In tandem with the Diabetes Self-Management Program, Healthstat runs a suite of programs and services that assist in controlling what is for many a lifelong disease. This includes:
- Onsite dispensaries that make it inexpensive and easy to pick up medications
- Weight management programs that tackle one of the most common comorbidities of diabetes: obesity
- Client-dedicated Health Coaches that pair with a Healthstat clinician to provide ongoing and personalized care to a patient population
- Lifestyle programs that cover exercise, diet, and stress management to make living with chronic conditions more manageable
Healthy By the Numbers
On average, 10% of Healthstat patients nationwide live with diabetes. When it’s controlled, an organization can expect to save $4,600 a year in medical costs per employee with diabetes. What does that mean for your workplace? If you employ 500 workers, you could see $230,000 in reduced medical costs per year for the 50 employees who live with diabetes.
Consider also the success of Mount Vernon Mills, a textile manufacturing company that began its partnership with Healthstat in 2003. In 2019, the average age of their employees is approaching 50, a time when blood pressure, blood sugar and body mass all tend to rise. Through Healthstat’s onsite clinics and condition management programs, Mount Vernon Mills has seen a decrease in glucose levels and maintenance of BMI among those in the highest health risk group. Systolic and diastolic blood pressure were also lowered, reducing the risk of 10-year cardiovascular mortality rate complications by an estimated 34%.
Reach Out Today
Diabetes can be a debilitating, frustrating, and dangerous disease that impacts your workplace on a daily basis. But it doesn’t need to be.
Does your workforce follow Healthstat’s 10% national trend of working Americans with diabetes? Do they suffer from comorbidities of diabetes like obesity, hypertension, and hyperlipidemia? Are they looking for easier ways to access healthcare with an intuitive care plan, onsite dispensary, and a care team catered to personal success? Chat with us today to see how a Healthstat onsite clinic program can be the solution you’ve been looking for to tackle diabetes in the workplace.
If you’re not ready for an onsite clinic program, reach out today for information on our standalone Health Assessment that can gauge the current health status and health needs of your employees. It can identify employees at risk of conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension, and it’s the first step toward pursuing an informed culture of wellness. Our full-time Health Assessment team will work with you to make the event a seamless, productive, and empowering chance for your employees to gain control of their health.
Partner with Healthstat to begin inspiring healthy change, every day.