To combat rising healthcare costs, many employers are working to engage their employees with strategic wellness initiatives. After all, when they’re successful, wellness programs can have tremendous results. According to a study conducted by the Harvard Business Review of 185 workers from a single organization, 57 percent of high-risk individuals were converted to low-risk status by the end of the company’s six-month wellness program. The result?—slashed medical claim costs of $1,421 per participant, or $6 in healthcare savings for every dollar the company invested in the program. Successful wellness programs like these are inspiring more organizations to invest in employee health and wellness, not only to cut costs but also to improve employee productivity and engagement.
Rallied by the achievements of wellness programs, many organizations are exploring avenues for additional healthcare savings and improved employee productivity. With the advent of new technology, the mobile health market provides numerous options for employers to complement their wellness strategies and provide more comprehensive care for their employees. Data from the 2014 Health Employer Survey on Purchasing Value in Health Care shows that nearly a third of high-performing companies adopted telemedicine in 2014, with 52 percent of employers projected to add it to their offerings by the end of 2015. While telemedicine generally results in auxiliary savings, organizations are finding value in using these solutions in tandem with a strategic wellness program to drive aggregate savings while providing employees convenient access to holistic healthcare services.
But mobile health isn’t just limited to telemedicine. Thanks to innovations in the industry, employers have a medley of opportunities available to engage their employees in their health. Conveniently accessible mobile apps provide services ranging from general diet and fitness tracking to premium amenities including clinical references, detailed graphics, nutrition plans, diagnostics and data analytics. As part of the “internet of things,” mobile health apps are able to collect and store usage data. As individuals take greater control of their health using mobile apps, employers benefit from unprecedented metric capabilities to track employee progress and further hone their wellness strategies in pursuit of organizational goals.
Mobile health apps are only becoming more prevalent in the marketplace as employers, employees and healthcare professionals realize their value. A survey by Research Now reveals that 46 percent of healthcare professionals plan to incorporate mobile apps into their practice over the next five years. Furthermore, market research firm Visiongain anticipates mobile health sales of over $10 billion globally by the end of 2015. The surge of mobile health services is fueled by decreased app costs, strengthened consumer trust in app services and significant professional endorsement. The above cited Research Now survey found that 96 percent of users believe their health apps help them to improve their quality of life, while 72 percent of healthcare professionals believe that health apps will effectively encourage patients to take more responsibility for their health. Innovations in mobile health are providing increased opportunities for employees to make more efficient use of their healthcare systems and become more responsible healthcare consumers – that's good news for your bottom line.
As individuals make greater use of telemedicine and health apps, they are more likely to increase their knowledge and discover viable alternatives to costly emergency room and physician office visits. As health apps become more integral to individuals’ lives, employers can leverage these services to drive positive changes in employee health, reinforcing the directives of their overall wellness initiative—cutting costs and improving productivity.
Explore the innovative wellness strategies that can help you mend your bottom line and improve the health & engagement of your workforce!