How to Differentiate and Evaluate Health Therapeutics for Your Employees

Wednesday, May 9, 2018
 
By Laurel Pickering,
Chief Revenue Officer,
WellDoc Inc.
 
Healthcare delivery and the technology to improve health outcomes and save dollars are evolving at lightning speed. A recently published article in Harvard Business Review estimates that the traditional model of in-person care is undergoing disruptive changes for three key reasons - rising healthcare costs, a shortage of providers and an aging population.(1) Based on a report from Accenture, this article details how the use of virtual healthcare delivery and digital health therapeutics may help manage these three challenges to “generate an economic value of approximately $10 billion annually across the U.S. health system over the next few years.”

Impacting the health outcomes and bottom line of employee healthcare today takes more than instituting wellness programs, negotiating and providing health insurance coverage and participating in state or national policy discussions. It requires a lot of innovation!

Yet, it’s a challenge to innovate. People like you in decision making positions are being bombarded by the next best digital health solutions daily.

Yes, there’s plenty of noise in the system! This makes differentiating and evaluating digital health solutions for your employees a challenge. According to a 2017 report on “The Growing Value of Digital Health”, from the IQVIA Institute, there’s been a proliferation of digital health tools.(2) Worldwide there are now over 300,000 health apps with 200 being added daily. Add to the count 340 wearable devices.

Health apps divide into several categories. While the majority is general wellness apps, far fewer are disease specific/condition management apps or digital therapeutics. According to the Digital Therapeutics Alliance, digital therapeutics are innovative, clinically-validated disease management and direct treatment applications to enhance healthcare that also have demonstrated safety and efficacy in studies and received regulatory clearance.(3)
 
WellDoc’s BlueStar Rx® is a digital therapeutic. It’s FDA-cleared and is proven to lower hemoglobin A1C, the indicator of glucose control over time,(4) by nearly 2 percentage points in people with type 2 diabetes.(5,6,7) Recently, Truven Health Analytics®, part of the IBM Watson Health™ business, conducted an analysis for WellDoc based on the data from the two randomized control trials (5,6) showing that the implementation of BlueStar® can save, on average, a range of $254 to $271 per user per month.(8)

To evaluate digital health solutions for your employees you need to ask inquiring questions. WellDoc Insights has compiled these questions in an infographic (https://www.welldoc.com/insights/article/digital-health-solutions-evaluations) and they’re included below.

Validate clinical effectiveness:
Is the app FDA cleared?
• Were randomized control trials conducted with the app?
• Were the results of the randomized control trials successful and significant?
 
Demonstrate employer engagement:
Was User Experience (UX) science used in designing the app?
• Is the app easy to use from start up to daily use?
• Is the user guided through his/her journey with the app to maximize impact?

Determine data security:
• Is the app SOC 2 Certified?
• Is the app HIPAA compliant?
 
Connect people to their healthcare team:
• Does the app encourage and facilitate communication between the employee and their healthcare team?
 

References:
(1). Harvard Business Review. Virtual Health Care Could Save the U.S. Billions Each Year. https://hbr.org/2018/04/virtual-health-care- could-save-the-u-s-billions-each-year. 2018. (Accessed May 1, 2018.)
(2). IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science. The Growing Value of Digital Health. https://www.iqvia.com/institute/reports/the- growing-value-of-digital-health. 2017. (Accessed May 1, 2018.)
(3). Digital Therapeutics Alliance https://www.dtxalliance.org/ (Accessed May 1, 2018.)
(4). WellDoc Insights. A1C: What It Is, Why It Matters to Contain Costs of Diabetes Care in Individuals and Populations. 2018. https://www.welldoc.com/insight/what-is-a1c/
(5). Quinn C, Shardell M, Terrin M, et al. Cluster-randomized trial of mobile phone personalized behavioral intervention of blood glucose control. Diabetes Care 2011; 34(9);1933-1943.
(6). Quinn C, Clough SS, Minor JM, et al. WellDoc™ mobile diabetes management randomized controlled trial: change in clinical and behavioral outcomes and patient and physician satisfaction. Diabetes Technol Ther 2008;10(3);160-168.
(7). WellDoc BlueStar https://www2.bluestardiabetes.com/
(8). WellDoc. WellDoc validates potential of its digital therapeutic, BlueStar®, to significantly reduce healthcare costs. https://www.welldoc.com/images/uploads/WellDoc-Truven-Release.pdf.
 
 
 
Laurel Pickering 5/9/2018

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