How employers can help curb the nationwide epidemic of opioid abuse

Fueled by a mounting body of irrefutable evidence on the opiate abuse epidemic, debates and news media coverage have reached buzz level. In the past two months alone, there have been Congressional subcommittee meetings on opioid abuse, state opioid abuse task forces and governors signing into law measures to help curb opiate dependency.

Hearings and laws are a step in the right direction, but employers remain uniquely positioned to take action now to help at-risk employees and get more health for less money. Our recent white paper study Opiate Abuse Is Costing Your Company contains some eye-opening facts:

  • Misuse of opioid drugs costs employers $25.6 billion in annual loses due to missed days at work and lost productivity.
  • A review of four years of data from our Population Health Dashboard (PhD) reveals just 13 percent of those with opioid prescriptions have abuse issues, but they are responsible for a whopping 92 percent of employer’s costs.
  • Abusers cost employers significantly more in health care costs than other employees, an average of $10,627 more annually. Some of the workforce population health data tools we offer can help employers more strategically direct resources to prevention/education programs. These are better, and more economical, alternatives to the increased costs caused by opiate abuse. For employers to address opioid abuse and dependence:
  • Understand and insist upon conservative prescribing guidelines for pain treatment for all participating providers in your medical, workers’ compensation, and occupational health programs.
  • As mentioned above, it’s important to evaluate and know who is at risk in your specific covered population. We’ve got a tool that allows you to review claims data and identify potential issues, then pivot and run a cost-effective, HIPAA-compliant campaign to understand the issues and get people the help they need.
  • Educate employees about the risks of opioid drug use to avoid misuse in the first place, and increase understanding about proper disposal of unused medications. There are ways to do this without being accusatory.
  • Increase and ensure confidential access to help and treatment when an employee finds that they are dependent on opioids. These programs not only save employers money in the long run, they’re good for morale, and retaining employees is beneficial to you. It’s time to seize this unique opportunity to address the epidemic through relationships with medical providers, employee education and availability of confidential treatment programs.

Healthentic Raises $3.75 Million for Go-To-Market Push

SEATTLE, March 19, 2015 – Healthentic, a data analytics company that easily identifies health savings for employers, today announced it raised $3.75 million in its latest equity financing round to drive continued product innovation and go-to-market efforts. To date, the company has raised almost $20 million to develop its two products.

Healthentic’s database holds de-identified claims information on the lives of almost 40 million individuals, and its unique data analytics provides employers with valuable insights to encourage improved employee health and drive down health care costs for their organizations.

“Data employers get from insurers and consultants is usually unwieldy – confusing at best. Often it is hundred-page reports that don’t have actionable insights,” said Jeff O’Mara, Chief Executive Officer of Healthentic. “Employers should focus on identifying and managing specific risks and conditions unique to their population, not sorting through hundreds of pages of information. Healthentic provides employers with an easy way to optimize health care spend and productivity.”

Healthentic counts more than 10,800 corporate clients spanning an array of industries, including hospitals, banks, manufacturers, sporting goods companies, hotels, insurance companies, and health and benefits consultants. This year Healthentic’s clients have seen an average annual savings opportunity of $180,000 for every 1,000 insured lives.

“With health insurance costs continuing to rise at an alarming rate, companies are struggling to provide good alternatives for their employees. Many also want to empower their employees to make good health choices,” said Mim Minichiello, Senior Partner and COO of EBS Capstone. “The kind of data and analysis Healthentic’s tools provide have been a game changer for the clients we serve. Now we have the information to create specific and actionable initiatives that deliver real outcomes.”

“At the end of the day it comes down to cost. If all of your wellness programs and costs are not beating trend, then you have to do a re-think on your strategy.  This [Healthentic’s PhD] will help,” added Glenn Haskell, Benefits Manager at New Balance.

Healthentic’s two product offerings, the Population Health Dashboard (PhD) and the Dental Action Report (DAR), give employers one place to measure and analyze population health in an easily digestible way by laying out organization health status and goals.

“This company has a solid user base, a great go-to-market business model, and is ready to scale,” said Jim Dwyer, President and Chief Executive Officer of WDS Holdings in Seattle and Chair of Healthentic’s Board. “We’ve seen the value Healthentic brings to employers. That’s why we’re investing.”

Healthentic’s investors include Corvesta, Inc., Hawaii Dental Service, WDS Holdings LLC, and WYSSTA Investments, Inc.

About Healthentic

Healthentic, an innovative analytics platform, is the easiest way to measure population health. Healthentic’s Population Health Dashboard (PhD) gives businesses critical insights using the power of whole health informatics to make changes to their plans and programs in order to lower costs while improving overall employee health and productivity. Healthentic works with more than 10,800 enterprises, and covers more than almost 40 million lives. To learn more, visit www.healthentic.com.

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Sweet and Scary Facts about Dental Health

It turns out the scariest part of Halloween may not be the ghosts and goblins, but microscopic bacteria that causes cavities—not to mention the dental health habits of the U.S. population.

Halloween is fun for families, but certain types of candy combined with poor dental care habits can really be frightening. It’s always good to think about oral health, but Halloween is an especially important time since so many Americans will indulge in sweet treats.

For example, we looked at data for more than ten million dental plan enrollees and found that:

  • More than 1 in 3 failed to see a dentist in 2013
  • Nearly 25% hadn’t seen a dentist or taken advantage of covered preventive services in 2 years
  • Nearly 20% had a cavity filled in 2013

The post-Halloween season is the perfect time to receive a checkup as indulging in sugary foods metabolizes sugar and produces acids that quickly eat away at tooth enamel if not removed.

To reduce the risk, we suggest that people:

  • Enjoy sugary foods in moderation
  • Avoid sticky candies like taffy or treats as well as hard candies that stay in the mouth a long time—instead, choose candies that quickly dissolve and can be eaten easily like chocolate
  • Brush after eating and see a dentist yearly for an examination and dental cleaning

Infographic

Download the full infographic

Only 10% of Employees Get Flu Shots, Analysis Finds

SEATTLE, October 16, 2014—Healthentic, an analytics company that easily identifies health savings for employers, released an analysis today, highlighting the very low percentage of employees who get flu vaccinations&emdash;a proven way to prevent the illness.

“October is the start of the active flu season in the U.S. and the CDC says it’s the best time to get vaccinated,” said Sean Gallivan, Chief Operating Officer of Healthentic. “It only takes a few minutes and the benefits are tremendous. Employers can reduce health care costs and the number of sick days lost to the flu. Employees can protect their health. Get vaccinated.”

Healthentic’s analysis of 27 companies found the average cost for a single flu-related outpatient office visit totaled $122 during the 2012-13 flu season. The average cost for each flu-related emergency room visit totaled $581, and the average cost for a flu-related hospitalization totaled $4,001. In one instance, an employer incurred $28,000 dollars in hospital expenses resulting from a single case of flu. While extreme, this shows taking the time to get a flu shot can have a huge payoff for both employees and employers.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), employers lose a total of nearly $6.2 billion to seasonal influenza. Experts agree the most effective method of preventing flu infection is early vaccination, yet Healthentic found the overall vaccination rate of employees was only 10 percent. While the CDC reports higher vaccination rates, a majority of Americans still don’t receive flu vaccinations. Every year a number of children in the U.S. die from the flu. During the 2013-2014 flu season, more than 100 flu-related deaths of children were reported and 90 percent of those children were unvaccinated. In the United States, the average annual death toll for the flu is near 23,500.

To increase vaccination rates, Healthentic recommends employers educate employees about the value of vaccination (refer to http://www.flu.gov) and provide on-site vaccination..

To see the full analysis on flu vaccinations, visit www.healthentic.com/landing/flu/

About Healthentic

Healthentic, an innovative analytics platform, is the easiest way to measure population health. Healthentic’s Population Health Dashboard (PhD) gives businesses critical insights using the power of whole health informatics to make changes to their plans and programs in order to lower costs while improving overall employee health and productivity. Healthentic works with more than 10,800 enterprises, and covers more than 38.7 million lives. To learn more, visit http://www.healthentic.com.

Webcast – Targeted Wellness: Understanding the Numbers

Healthentic is pleased to be able to provide a free invitation to attend the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)’s webcast, “Targeted Wellness: Understanding the Numbers”.

As the nature of health care and wellness benefits evolves, employers have more access to claims data. This provides an opportunity to see how members are utilizing the health care system and tailor the organization’s medical and prescription plan design as well as wellness approaches to both increase participation and lower costs. This exclusive program will provide an overview of this targeted wellness approach, and how to use these numbers for benefits planning. Data generated by SHRM’s HR Benchmarks program will provide a basis for users to compare their own results with those of other employers.

Join us for this free event

The webcast is normally only available to SHRM members. Take advantage of this exclusive invitation to attend for free.

  • Tuesday, September 30th, 2:00PM ET/11:00AM PT
  • Presented by Ben Cohen, Kushner & Company; and John Dooney, SPHR, SHRM
  • Program time: 60 minutes

Viewing this entire presentation, counts as 1 credit hour toward PHR/SPHR/GPHR recertification from the Human Resource Certification Institute. See more at the Society for Human Resource Management website

Less than One Percent of Workforce Accounts for Up to 41 Percent of Medical and Pharmacy Costs

SEATTLE, September 16, 2014—Healthentic, an analytics company focused on easily measuring population health, released an analysis on high-cost employees (costs equal to or greater than $50,000 annually) today. Looking at 28 different organizations with at least 1,000 insured members, Healthentic found the percentages of total costs due to high-cost patients ranged from a low of eight percent to a high of 41 percent, with the median value coming in at 26 percent.

On average, employers paid $113,379 in medical and pharmacy expenses for each individual high-cost member, compared to just $2,751 for everyone else.

“The fact that employers can save more than $110,000 by preventing just one high-cost member is pretty eye-opening and shows why it’s so important for organizations to understand their population’s health and how it impacts their bottom line,” said Sean Gallivan, Chief Operating Officer of Healthentic.

“Healthentic has been invaluable to our business,” said Greg Howe, Wellness Manager of Lincoln Industries. “Their data helps us better understand our population health risks and empowers us to make more informed decisions on where to spend our time and resources.”

Healthentic’s full analysis found the vast majority of high-cost members revert back to low/standard cost year-over-year. The three biggest contributors to the high-cost category include cancer, chronic kidney failure and complicated births. To help alleviate the high-costs resulting from these conditions, Healthentic recommends:

  • Promoting evidenced-based cancer screening
  • Effectively managing diabetes and hypertension
  • Making case management available for high-risk pregnancies and complicated births

To see the full high-cost member analysis, visit www.healthentic.com/landing/highcost/

About Healthentic

Healthentic, an innovative analytics platform, is the easiest way to measure population health. Healthentic’s Population Health Dashboard (PhD) gives businesses critical insights using the power of whole health informatics to make changes to their plans and programs in order to lower costs while improving overall employee health and productivity. Healthentic works with more than 10,800 enterprises, and covers more than 38.7 million lives. To learn more, visit http://www.healthentic.com.

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Solving the mystery of workplace health: The story of Hawaii National Bank

Sherlock Holmes once said “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.” Despite living in the late 1800s, the great detective (and creator Arthur Conan Doyle) realized data was the key to solving any good mystery.

Today, many companies are struggling to solve mysteries related to workplace health. Is my health care benefits spending working? Are my employees getting healthier? More productive? Is there a group more at risk because they haven’t gotten the appropriate preventive care? These are questions many company leaders and benefits managers haven’t been able to answer…until now.

Hawaii National Bank prides itself on providing highly personalized service to its customers, yet like many other businesses, the company struggled to provide personalized health care benefits coverage to its own employees. The company reached out to Healthentic to gain insight into the types of conditions its employees and their dependents were going through. Using its Population Health Dashboard (PhD), Healthentic found Hawaii National’s employees had a high rate of diabetes and cardiovascular conditions. With this knowledge, Hawaii National raised awareness around overall population health by sharing the data internally, partnering with a local hospital system to ensure workplace health improvement and implementing changes to its coverage plans.

Derek Kanehira, VP of Human Resources, Hawaii National, says Healthentic enabled his company to start a conversation about population health. That conversation has been a big turning point for Hawaii National, and allows them to see why wellness matters.

While big data has already revolutionized industries like real estate and consumer technology, it’s only now impacting health care and Healthentic is leading the way. To learn more about the Population Health Dashboard and how it can answer important health questions for your company, have a look around our website.

Healthentic Avoidable ER Analysis in the News

We almost always get questions from our customers about their Emergency Room usage. We often hear questions like these: Is ER use too high? Are people going to ER for the right reasons? Is there something we can do to encourage people to get better or more affordable services from their primary care doctor or the urgent care center?

Knowing that this is almost always a topic of interest for employers, our research team set out to understand if we could learn which ER visits might be potentially avoidable or could be treated in a different, more affordable clinical setting. They were able to apply an algorithm to our database and come up with some interesting figures.

Here are links to the coverage we’ve received so far.

10% of ED visits are avoidable and could save 43.8B a year

Jennifer’s article on Healthentic’s avoidable ER visits data describes the ways in which companies could be saving money, starting with providing patients with better education. Jennifer included the quote from Sean Gallivan from the press releases.

Analysis shows scope of avoidable employee ER visits

Joseph’s article covers Healthentic’s ER analysis and uses it to illustrate the ways in which companies could be saving money. He indicates Healthentic’s advice of ensuring that employees are fully aware of more affordable health options such as nurse telephone lines and other urgent care alternatives.

Download the Avoidable ER Visits white paper.

Healthentic Finds Up to 18 Percent of Emergency Visits Are Avoidable

SEATTLE, August 20, 2014—Healthentic, an analytics company focused on easily measuring population health, released its analysis of potentially avoidable emergency room visits today. Utilizing data from 31 different companies, Healthentic found the rate of avoidable ER visits varied from as low as 2 percent to as high as 18 percent. Avoidable ER visits for non-emergency conditions, such as headaches, cost the businesses more than $1.3 million last year, representing 8 percent of their total ER costs. If the same rate of avoidable ER visits and costs held up nationally, that would equal approximately $3.8 billion annually.

“Employers have no idea how much of their ER spending is avoidable or how much they could be saving themselves and their employees,” said Sean Gallivan, Chief Operating Officer of Healthentic. “If employers are going to get a handle on health care costs and do a better job controlling expenses, they have to start managing strategically; they need stronger data.”

Healthentic’s full analysis includes the nine most common non-emergency conditions, the overall rate of potentially avoidable ER visits, and recommendations for organizations on how to address out-of-control health care spending. This report shows employers need to monitor health care habits of employees to ensure available services are used correctly so organizations and employees spend efficiently.

Key Data Findings

  • Overall, 10 percent of the emergency room visits in the Healthentic database were for conditions or ailments that could have been successfully treated and addressed in an outpatient setting other than an emergency room. The range for avoidable ER visits went from a low of 2 percent to a high of 18 percent. This range could be due to several factors including differences in health benefit plan design and access to or awareness of ER alternatives.
  • The top reasons for potentially avoidable ER visits are: headache, back pain, urinary tract infection, sore throat, acute upper respiratory infections, ear ache, acute bronchitis, pink eye, and sciatica.
  • Employees who go to the ER versus other outpatient clinics could be costing their employers up 5 times as much for treating some conditions.

To see the full ER analysis, visit: http://www.healthentic.com/landing/avoidable_er/

About Healthentic

Healthentic, an innovative analytics platform, is the easiest way to measure population health. Healthentic’s Population Health Dashboard (PhD) gives businesses critical insights using the power of whole health informatics to make changes to their plans and programs in order to lower costs while improving overall employee health and productivity. Healthentic works with more than 10,800 enterprises, and covers more than 38.7 million lives. To learn more, visit http://www.healthentic.com.

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Searching for Health Insights

Every company is concerned about their employees. After all, they are their number one asset. So when Servco was looking to find insights into employee health, they used the Population Health Dashboard to find and answer the questions that matter most. These new insights enable Servco to work towards a data-driven health strategy that is designed just for them.

Crafting customized insurance policies is Servo’s business, so they know as well as anyone how important it is to tailor each aspect of health, human capital, and wellness programming so the fit is just right. With the Population Health Dashboard (PhD) they are able to get deep insights into the health of their population, honing in on important issues that they can actually address.

The PhD is giving them answers to the questions that matter for their company. And they are using the insights to drive action at the very top of the organization. Jeff Bell, Chief Financial Officer, is deeply connected to the organization’s efforts to improve the health and happiness of every member of the Servco family. This high level support provides the sponsorship needed to make a difference. Not only that, this level of leadership’s commitment demonstrates Servco’s understanding of the all-too-important connection between health, well being, and productivity.

“Healthentic’s population health tool makes all of our claims data available in one place, but more importantly the sorted data provides Servco with insight into chronic conditions within our population, which we anticipate will help us identify opportunities to take action to help our employees better manage those conditions.”

Jeff Bell, Chief Financial Officer

With new insights into their key health issues, Servco can redouble its efforts to focus on the most critical areas of health. This has enabled them to both address the most pressing chronic conditions and to look at other areas where they might prevent poor outcomes in the future–keeping those who are healthy today, healthy tomorrow.

As they start to execute on their data-driven health strategy, Servco will also be able to take advantage of the Population Health Dashboard’s tracking features which allows employers to visualize their actions against their data.

“Through the event tracking feature, we plan to overlay significant initiatives on particular data points and see how that data changes over time,” noted Mr. Bell.

All told, the Population Health Dashboard is helping Servco measure and track their population health efforts through simple, easy-to-use reporting that delivers insights from day one.