NASHVILLE, Tenn. & SYDNEY--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A four-year peer-reviewed study by HCF, Australia’s largest not-for-profit private health insurer, and Healthways, Inc. (NASDAQ: HWAY), the global leader in well-being improvement solutions, shows that the My Health Guardian program significantly reduces hospitalization and lowers healthcare costs for participants with chronic conditions. The study was published in the peer-reviewed journal, BMC Health Services Research, and evaluated My Health Guardian members with diabetes or heart disease.
My Health Guardian was launched in 2009 to actively manage and improve the health and well-being of HCF members by offering them a comprehensive suite of health and well-being resources. Members with chronic conditions are eligible for telephonic counseling to drive adherence to proven standards of care, medications and physician care plans.
The study showed a significant reduction in hospital utilization for the four-year participants compared to a matched group of non-participants. Specifically, the program effect included an 11.4 percent reduction in hospital admissions, 36.7 percent reduction in readmissions, and 17.2 percent reduction in length of hospital stay over the four years. Participants were 27 percent and 45 percent less likely to have any admission or readmission, respectively, over the four-year study period than matched non-participants. This resulted in an average per-member savings of $3,549 during the four-year period, with a year-to-year compounding effect on savings.
“Within the next five years, chronic illness is expected to account for 80 percent of Australia’s national disease burden1, with related costs increasing at an unsustainable rate,” said HCF Managing Director Shaun Larkin. “Healthways offers a set of evidence-based solutions that allows us to identify those most at risk and help them better manage their illness and prevent further complications and co-morbidities. We have been diligent in measuring our progress along the way, and this study supports previous results that show that we are making an impact on improving the health of members while reducing costs.”
A 2013 peer-reviewed study published in Population Health Management also found that, in the first 18 months of the program, My Health Guardian significantly reduced the rate of hospital admissions for participants with heart disease and diabetes. Both studies found the magnitude of program effect increased over time. The BMC Health Services Research study confirms and longitudinally extends these previously published program outcomes and adds an evaluation of cost savings.
Diabetes is the fastest growing chronic illness in Australia. More than one million Australians are living with the disease, and 100,000 new cases are diagnosed annually. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Australia, responsible for one-third of all deaths. The study supports the adoption of programs like My Health Guardian to control escalating healthcare costs related to the increase in chronic disease in Australia.
“HCF has taken a leadership position in Australia by investing in and focusing on preventing the progression of chronic disease to address the overall health of its population and manage costs,” said Peter Choueiri, president of Healthways International. “This study confirms the value of what we are striving to accomplish together, enhancing the health and well-being of members while lowering health-related costs. For more than 30 years, chronic condition management has been a core Healthways service, and we continue to drive innovation and proven outcomes with solutions that can be leveraged by individuals, employers, government entities, health insurers and organizations around the globe.”
HCF is Australia’s largest non-profit health insurer, currently covering more than 1.5 million Australians. To learn more about HCF go to http://www.hcf.com.au/about-us.
Healthways is the largest independent global provider of well-being improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier world one person at a time, the Company uses the science of behavior change to produce and measure positive change in well-being for our customers, which include employers, integrated health systems, hospitals, physicians, health plans, communities and government entities. We provide highly specific and personalized support for each individual and their team of experts to optimize each participant’s health and productivity and to reduce health-related costs. Results are achieved by addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of everyone in a given population. The Company has scaled its proprietary technology infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30 years and now serves approximately 68 million people on four continents. Learn more at www.healthways.com.
1 National Health Priority Action Council (NHPAC). National Chronic Disease Strategy. Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing, Canberra.