When it comes to predicting and maintaining the budgets of healthcare for businesses, one of the biggest challenges in doing so is finding the right way to encourage employees/ members to manage their chronic conditions while containing the costs. One of the most prevalent pre-existing and chronic conditions in the U.S. is type 2 diabetes – which has a major impact on workplace healthcare. Overall annual costs of managing diabetes in the U.S. were at $327 billion in 2018, according to the American Diabetes Association. Additionally, there are over 30 million Americans who currently have diagnosed Type 2 diabetes, and around 84 million who are at risk of developing it. Because of this, workplace healthcare costs, and medical costs in general, will continue to increase.
Employees who are diabetic cost their employers significantly more than those who don’t suffer from the condition – about 2.3 times more. The vast majority of people who have diabetes also have other chronic conditions, such as being overweight or obese, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. These additional factors make healthcare management even more difficult. There’s also a factor of pain and suffering that comes with the potentially debilitating condition that can cause employees to miss time at work or go on disability.
The Future of Healthcare: Tech and Data-Driven
One of the main ways that employers can effectively use evolving technology is data-driven AI and machine learning. This technology can help diagnose, treat, and hopefully even prevent chronic conditions like diabetes better than we ever have before. It can also increase the efficiency of medical trials by using robotics, machine vision. Computers provide us with precise information that humans aren’t always able to give. This proactive approach to healthcare, rather than the reactive approach that largely exists now could change the way we take care of our bodies.
Another area of healthcare that can potentially be improved upon is wearable tech. Wearable tech has been monitoring our heart rates and counting our steps for years. But with blood pressure monitors and other wearable tech, it has the potential to monitor much more: like our body temperature and heart rate – right from a smartwatch! Monitoring these changes that occur with employees with diabetes can help them better manage their condition and stay on top of the fluctuations that impact their bodies. Naturally, in turn, this saves the employer on healthcare costs – making it a win-win for everyone.
Saving Employers Money While Improving Our Overall Health
Not only will this medical technology save employers on constantly rising healthcare costs, but it also has the possibility of improving the quality of life for millions of Americans. Emerging technologies will help people better manage their conditions and address potential symptoms before they become an issue. This especially gets the attention of employers who are self-funded, because the risk factors are considerably higher than that of employers who use traditional healthcare models. It’s exciting to see where the future of healthcare tech will take us!