Digital Health Can Turn the Tide on Chronic Disease – and the Health Costs That Follow

Jul 28, 2022 10:00:00 AM

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The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease projects medical costs from disease like diabetes, obesity and heart disease could cost America $2 trillion per year in medical costs and $794 billion per year in lost employee productivity if current trends continue. That’s because annual health care costs rise sharply for those with multiple chronic diseases, going from $6,000 for individuals without chronic diseases to $10,000 for those with one or two conditions and $25,000 for those with three or more. They are more prone to need medication, hospitalization and frequent doctor visits.

That means medical claims for just 5,000 of your members with one or more chronic disease could add up to $50 million or more per year.

To reduce these escalating expenses, payers are looking for ways to prevent at-risk members from being diagnosed with a chronic disease, and digital health apps like Yes Health are making a difference.

Here’s how you can calculate potential medical cost savings by offering a digital chronic disease prevention program as an added benefit to members.

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Why Some Prevention Programs Fail 

An estimated 87.4 million Americans used a digital health or fitness app last year to improve their physical health and stave off chronic disease.  These programs promise to offer nutrition and fitness support via the user’s mobile device and help users incorporate healthier habits. 

That’s good news for insurers, who know healthier members experience less disease and, ultimately, save payers in claims costs. Unfortunately, most wellness apps aren’t delivering on those promises, or sustaining them long-term because they:

  • Don’t address the individual needs and goals of each member.
  • Fail to actively engage members, leading to high drop-out rates.
  • Offer no opportunity to ask food-and fitness-related questions or receive feedback in-the-moment.
  • Require tedious record keeping, like calorie counting and food diaries.
  • Require appointments, weigh-ins, etc., which are not conducive to a busy lifestyle.

University of California San Francisco endocrinologist, Suneil Koliwad, M.D., explains how Yes Health’s disease prevention program reaches members where they are and encourages active engagement for better retention. This approach empowers members to change their habits, reduce risk factors, decrease doctor visits and, ultimately, avoid costly hospitalizations.  


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When choosing a chronic disease prevention solution, it’s important to avoid programs that require members to take part in tedious tasks such as keeping food and activity logs or apps that only offer feedback after-the-fact during weekly check-ins.  These do little to maintain momentum or reinforce ongoing efforts to achieve wellness goals.

3 Reasons Yes Health Works Better

Fully Recognized by the CDC and an approved provider for California Medicaid, Yes Health is designed to resolve payer pain points. Our team of health coaches advise members in-the-moment on how to eat better, move more and reduce the risk factors associated with chronic conditions, as well as how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Here are three reasons more than 24 health plans are encouraging their members to use Yes Health: 

  1. Proven methodology – Our approach is based on a five-year NIH study in which people at risk for diabetes received one-on-one fitness and nutrition coaching, took group classes and had weight check-ins. The study showed a 57% decrease in the risk of participants acquiring diabetes, compared to non-participants.  
  2. In-the-moment health coaching – Members using Yes Health can access our team of coaches whenever or wherever they need it via their smartphones. The ease, convenience and quick feedback suits today's busy lifestyles and keeps members on track with improving their health and completing disease prevention programs, such as our Diabetes Prevention Programs. No other app has coaches standing by to offer on-the-go guidance for users. 
  3. High engagement –Our team of nutrition, fitness and wellness coaches empower members through evidence-based engagement techniques like individualized goal setting, accountability and judgment-free advice.

For example, Yes Health can reduce the anxiety associated with weekly trips to the grocery store. If a member isn’t sure what to buy or needs suggestions for healthier ingredients, they simply send a question to their coaches via the Yes Health app. Our coaches will provide feedback to help make their shipping trip a healthier experience.


To learn more about reducing payer spending through disease prevention, download Yes Health’s FREE eBook, “Preventing Chronic Disease through Personal Engagement.”

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Higher Program Completion Rates = Lower Costs 

Increasing the number of at-risk members who enroll in and complete chronic disease prevention programs keeps more members healthy. 

Yes Health was created to empower members through active reinforcement – a direct line of communication to receive fast feedback from certified nutritionists, fitness trainers and psychologists, amounting to 12 times more interaction than appointment-based programs.

Our all-mobile member engagement methods lead to exceptional program completion rates. In fact, 87% of people who begin using the Yes Health Diabetes Prevention Program stick with it,  far exceeding industry averages. Members also experience a 6% greater reduction in total body weight on average.

health stats for prevention programs

A Call for Immediate Action

Approximately half of Americans (157 million) have at least one chronic illness, 15 million higher than just a decade ago, according to the American Hospital Association. By 2030, that number is expected to reach 170 million.

That means it’s critical to take measures now to educate your health plan members about how to stay healthy as they age. Although each journey is personal to the individual, you can give your members a team of coaches so they have the support they need to tackle the day-to-day challenges that come with building healthy habits. 

To learn more about the Yes Health platform, and its Diabetes Prevention and Weight Loss programs, schedule a consultation with one of our experts.