Digital Health Technologies that Create Health Care Savings

Healthcare has always been a top priority in the US. Chronic diseases make it a big part of a person’s monthly budget. An empirical study in 2018 found that 45% of Americans have at least one chronic disease. The most common chronic diseases were cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases, diabetes, and smoking. A person with a chronic disease spends an average of $5,300 for medication and check-ups.

Recent studies showed that these numbers continue to increase. It revealed that a person spends an average of $11,000 on healthcare every year. This does not even cover hidden costs like productivity loss and salary deductions.

This is where the impact of digital health is making a difference. The integration of simple digital technologies into healthcare is reducing medical costs. Below are a few of the areas where these technologies are making positive changes:

Medication Adherence

Patients with chronic diseases fill out 83% of all prescriptions. A person with at least one chronic disease fills more than 20 prescriptions every year. But, 20% to 30% of prescriptions never get filled out at all. This results in greater spending and poorer health outcomes in the long run.

Digital technologies are emerging to solve this problem. There are now smartphone apps that send out reminders of medication schedules. Others even come with a “virtual pillbox”, which has images of a pill’s shape and size. The app then submits summary reports to the doctor and the patient.

Then, there are digital health marketplaces that allow people access to cheaper medication. One of these is the USA Rx health savings for everyone. Getting access to better offers and deals on medicines helps get prescriptions filled. This, in turn, aids in medication adherence, especially for those with chronic conditions.

Diabetes Prevention

Recent statistics show that almost 10% of the US population has diabetes. On average, a diabetic spends $4,500 every year on medication and lost productivity. Meanwhile, 32% of the total population has pre-diabetes. These are people who are at high risk of developing diabetes.

The best diabetes treatment is not only insulin but prevention. Chronic disease prevention is the key to lower health costs. Prevention requires behavioral interventions, support, and education. And, digital therapeutics now offers diabetes prevention solutions.

A good example is Omada Health. Modeled after the Diabetes Prevention Program study, it offers an online interactive program. It runs for 16 weeks and comes with health coaches and personalized plans. Its main goal is to lessen the chance of developing diabetes in pre-diabetic patients. Based on observations, an average participant lost about 5% of body weight. This makes it less likely for them to develop diabetes. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) now recognizes Omada’s programs.

Smoking Cessation

Approximately 17% of US adults are smokers. Surveys show that companies spend almost $6,000 on employees’ medical costs every year. Smoking cessation requires a lot of effort, support, and behavioral change. As a result, digital therapeutics are being developed and validated for it.

2morrow’s SmartQuit has shown effectiveness in clinical trials. It is a smartphone app-based smoking cessation program. Although not all health insurance providers cover it, it guarantees its quality. If the expected results continue, it will help smokers quit or at least reduce smoking. As a result, lesser smoking-related cases such as lung cancer and emphysema happen.

Chronic and other diseases need prevention and consistent intervention. Digital health products and services can help achieve massive changes for this. It can also promote better efficiency and savings when it comes to healthcare.