A Wave of Rising Healthcare Costs Is Coming: Here’s What To Do About It

by | Jun 4, 2021

There is a wave of healthcare spending and costs about to hit that will continue into the coming years.

No, these costs aren’t due to COVID-19 vaccinations or COVID-related hospitalizations.

In fact, these costs will be incurred because we’re getting a handle on the pandemic and hospitals are beginning to resume normal operations.

Elective procedures that were postponed will soon be rescheduled – and the number of patients waiting for these surgeries and treatments is surprisingly high.

This surge in medical procedures isn’t avoidable, however there is another way to cut costs that targets a larger cost driver than these postponed treatments.

We are going to talk about the critical role emotional health plays in managing chronic disease, and how digital behavior monitoring platforms can effectively and sustainably cut healthcare costs going into the future.

A Coming Tsunami of Healthcare Costs

Because COVID-19, millions of elective surgeries and procedures were postponed. This created a backlog of everything from hip and knee replacements to cancer surgeries and installing heart stints. Recent studies estimated backlogs of:

  • A million plus joint and spine surgeries by mid-2022
  • 1 million to 1.6 million cataract procedures by 2022

And that’s just a small sampling from two categories.

For employers and health insurance providers this means a lot of extra costs all at once and sustained through 2022 and possibly longer.

These procedures are essential for patients’ quality of life and reduced mortality.

If this tsunami of procedures and costs is inevitable, how can we possibly cut costs?

By focusing on the largest driver of healthcare spending in the U.S. today: chronic diseases.

Chronic Disease: A Controllable Healthcare Cost

Chronic diseases account for more dollars spent than any other type of healthcare spending.

Chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer account for 86% of healthcare expenditures and 90% of the nation’s $3.8 trillion annual healthcare budget.

As many as 50% of adults have a chronic disease, with another 60% of these having one or more condition (comorbidities).

The good news here is that chronic disease can be managed and even reversed to help lower healthcare costs.

These are largely lifestyle conditions. By making sustainable, healthy lifestyle changes, the effects of chronic disease can be cut dramatically.

How To Manage Chronic Disease And Cut Healthcare Costs

Most employers’ primary concern is the wellbeing of their employees, but the costs of poor population health are not far behind.

Chronic diseases like diabetes, obesity, musculoskeletal mental illness and heart disease costs employers on average $36.4 billion a year in absenteeism alone. That’s between $16 to $81 (small employer) and $17 to $286 (large employer) per employee per year.

Add the postponed elective surgeries on top of that and you see the scope of the problem.

So how do you attack the problem of chronic disease and their related costs?

You manage, reduce and reverse chronic disease with behavioral changes so your population is healthier, lowering healthcare utilization and incurring fewer healthcare costs.

You do this by:

  • Making healthy lifestyle changes – exercise routines, healthy diet, being more active
  • Focusing on mental and emotion health – mental health is the foundation of physical health
  • Leveraging technology to monitor and analyze biometric health data while creating personalized digital care programs to help clients reach their health goals

This may sound great, but how do you enact these changes for a population in a meaningful, measurable, and effective way?

AlbumHealth’s Solution to The Chronic Disease Problem

We designed a fully-integrated digital health monitoring platform that puts biometric data, health analytics, evidence-based programs and dedicated health coaches all in a client’s hand.

From any device, clients can monitor their health information and progress, talk 1-on-1 with their health coach, set custom diet and exercise programs or access educational material.

Every aspect of care is seamlessly coordinated with the client’s personalize program.

In addition to customer-focused actionable care plans, we included two unique features that set our product apart:

  • Proactive interaction – self-administered programs have poor adherence. Instead, our health coaches take an active role in their clients’ health journey.
  • Focus on emotional and mental health – without good mental and emotional health, behavioral health programs are often ineffective. We provide clinically-validated emotional health monitoring, tracking, guidance and support.

These two key features, alongside our data-driven, evidence-based and human-led care produce not only verified success, but first-in-class results in eliminating the biggest cause of behavior change program failure: lack of adherence.

With cutting-edge technology, clinical expertise, and active, genuine human engagement, we’re creating better health and cutting healthcare costs for millions.

To learn what AlbumHealth can do for you, feel free to explore our website or contact us for more information.