Insights

Point Solutions: An Emerging Industry and Diabetes

July 15, 2019

Employee Benefits

If you’re not familiar with the term “point solutions,” it is an emerging industry of specialized vendors that fill the gaps left by traditional health plans. Whether it is lifestyle, weight management, or chronic disease treatment, their value proposition is common: Treat costly health conditions while helping to reduce costs.

Stethoscope and diabetes blood glucose meter

One type of point solution is directed at diabetes care. Diabetes is of growing concern in the US, with over 10% of Americans living with Type 1 or Type 2 and another one in three having pre-diabetes. In total, over 100 million Americans have a diabetic condition. The CDC reports that:

  • Over half of new diagnosed diabetes cases were in adults 45–64 years old.
  • New diagnosed cases of Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes have increased among US youth.
  • New diabetes cases were higher among non-Hispanic/Latinx Black people and Hispanic/Latinx people than non-Hispanic/Latinx White people.
  • For US adults diagnosed with diabetes, prevalence was highest among Indigenous peoples/Alaska Natives.
  • Nearly 16% of adults diagnosed with diabetes were smokers, almost 90% were overweight, and more than 40% were physically inactive.

These statistics show the growing need for health agencies, insurance carriers, employers, and entrepreneurs to join forces to solve.

Diabetes Point Solution Vendors

Livongo (Livongo.com) offers interactive digital tools that advise patients on what action to take after testing their blood. Livongo’s offerings include telling the patient what to do immediately if their glucose levels are out of range and can trigger an immediate call to a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) if the results are exceptionally high or low. Results can be shared with doctors, family members, or caregivers in need of monitoring the patient’s glucose readings. Digital tools and remote support are the hallmark of Livongo’s diabetes care model and in one case study, saved employers 5.3% in decreased medical spending in one year.

Omada Health (OmadaHealth.com) offers tools for several chronic conditions, including diabetes, pre-diabetes, hypertension, and high cholesterol. They offer plans for employers, health plans, and individuals designed to reduce medical spend. “Personalized support, powered by science” is their motto, helping individuals to track their food, weight, and activity and provide one-to-one personal coaching to keep efforts on track. After a few months, the program has thousands of data points to track progress and suggest areas of improvement. Omada Health is used by Costco, Lowes Hardware, Schwans, and other employers who enjoy the ease of implementation and immediate impact on their diverse employee base.

Virta Health (VirtaHealth.com) has programs to reverse Type 2 Diabetes by putting patients on a Nutritional Ketosis diet that overcomes insulin resistance. Following a Keto Diet has proven to help diabetics reduce their blood sugar, increase energy, and lower or eliminate medication. Thought, it can be difficult to follow without support or medical care. Virta’s studies indicate that 60% of patients reversed their diabetes within one year and 94% of patients reduced or eliminated their need for insulin.Their clinics offer a combination of on-demand medical care, an individualized treatment plan, education, and accountability support to help patients overcome Type 2 diabetes. Virta Health is partnering with employers and health plans and show that they have saved over $10,000 in medical spend per employee over 24 months.

Integrating Point Solutions into Your Benefit Plan

You don’t need to be a large employer to find a diabetes point plan that works. Even a plan that focuses on a small number of employees and creates significant results might be worthwhile.

The first step is to look at your overall benefits strategy and see if a point plan aligns with it. Secondly, look for gaps that a point solution may fill for chronic care issues, telehealth, mental health, or other specific offerings. Finally, understanding how you need to interact with each vendor, including their reputation, administrative overhead, cost, and reporting tools, will help you choose the right vendor for your benefit plan.

Woodruff Sawyer is uniquely qualified to help identify the right point solutions that align with your benefit plan design and organizational strategy. Contact us for more information; benefit enrollment season will be here before you know it.

See all articles by John Meister

All views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the position of Woodruff-Sawyer & Co.

John Meister

Assistant Vice President, Employee Benefits

Contributor, Employee Benefits

As an Assistant Vice President of Employee Benefits, John works on developing and implementing growth opportunities for Woodruff Sawyer and further advancing the Employee Benefits practice. John previously worked as a benefits consultant for firms specializing solely in employee benefits. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Saint Mary's College of California with a BS in Business Administration and Marketing.

949.435.7392

LinkedIn

John Meister

Assistant Vice President, Employee Benefits

Contributor, Employee Benefits

As an Assistant Vice President of Employee Benefits, John works on developing and implementing growth opportunities for Woodruff Sawyer and further advancing the Employee Benefits practice. John previously worked as a benefits consultant for firms specializing solely in employee benefits. He graduated Magna Cum Laude from Saint Mary's College of California with a BS in Business Administration and Marketing.

949.435.7392

LinkedIn