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Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

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Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

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XPRIZE Founder Diamandis Predicts Tech Giants Amazon, Apple, and Google Will Be Doctors of The Future

Strategists agree that big tech is disrupting healthcare, so how will clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups serve virtual healthcare customers?

Visionary XPRIZE founder Peter Diamandis, MD, sees big tech as “the doctor of the future.” In an interview with Fast Company promoting his new book, “The Future Is Faster Than You Think,” Diamandis, who is the Executive Chairman of the XPRIZE Foundation, said that the healthcare industry is “phenomenally broken” and that Apple, Amazon, and Google could do “a thousandfold” better job.

Diamandis, who also founded Singularity University, a global learning and innovation community that uses exponential technologies to tackle worldwide challenges, according to its website, said, “We’re going to see Apple and Amazon and Google and all the data-driven companies that are in our homes right now become our healthcare providers.”

If this prediction becomes reality, it will bring significant changes in the traditional ways that consumers and patients have selected providers and access healthcare services. In turn, this will require all clinical laboratories and pathology groups to develop business strategies in response to these developments.

Amazon Arrives in Healthcare Markets

Several widely-publicized business initiatives by Amazon, Google, and Apple substantiate these predictions. According to an Amazon blog, healthcare insurers, providers, and pharmacy benefit managers are already operating HIPAA-eligible Amazon Alexa for:

  • Appointments at urgent care facilities,
  • Tracking prescriptions,
  • Employee wellness incentive management, and
  • Care updates following hospital discharge.

For example, the My Children’s Enhanced Recovery After Cardiac Surgery (ERAS Cardiac) program at Boston Children’s Hospital uses Amazon Alexa to share updates on patients’ recovery, the blog noted.

Alexa also enables HIPAA-compliant blood glucose updates as part of the Livongo for Diabetes program. “Our members now have the ability to hear their last blood glucose check by simply asking Alexa,” said Jennifer Schneider, MD, President of Livongo, a digital health company, in a news release.

And Cigna’s “Answers By Cigna” Alexa “skill” gives members who install the option responses to 150 commonly asked health insurance questions, explained a Cigna news release

Google Strikes Agreements with Health Systems 

Meanwhile, Google has agreements with Ascension and Mayo Clinic for the use of Google’s cloud computing capability and more, Business Insider reported.

“Google plans to disrupt healthcare and use data and artificial intelligence,” Toby Cosgrove, Executive Advisor to the Google Cloud team and former Cleveland Clinic President, told B2B information platform

PYMNTs speculated that Google, which recently acquired Fitbit, could be aiming at connecting consumers’ Fitbit fitness watch data with their electronic health records (EHRs).

“Ultimately what’s best is human and AI collaboratively,” Peter Diamandis, MD, founder of XPRIZE Foundation and Singularity University told Fast Company. “But I think for reading x-rays, MRIs, CT scans, genome data, and so forth, that once we put human ego aside, machine learning is a much better way to do that.” (Photo copyright: SALT.)

Apple Works with Insurers, Integrating Health Data

In “UnitedHealthcare Offers Apple Watches to Wellness Program Participants Who Meet Fitness Goals; Clinical Laboratories Can Participate and Increase Revenues,” Dark Daily noted that by “leveraging the popularity of mobile health (mHealth) wearable devices, UnitedHealthcare (UHC) has found a new way to incentivize employees participating in the insurer’s Motion walking program.” UHC offered free Apple Watches to employees willing to meet or exceed certain fitness goals.

The Apple Watch health app also enables people to access medical laboratory test results and vaccination records, and “sync up” information with some hospitals, Business Insider explained.

Virtual Care, a Payer Priority: Survey

Should healthcare providers feel threatened by the tech giants? Not necessarily. However, employers and payers surveyed by the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), an employer advocacy organization, said they want to see more virtual care solutions, a news release stated.

“One of the challenges employers face in managing their healthcare costs is that healthcare is delivered locally, and change is not scalable. It’s a market-by-market effort,” said Brian Marcotte, President and CEO of the NBGH, in the news release. “Employers are turning to market-specific solutions to drive meaningful changes in the healthcare delivery system.

“Virtual care solutions bring healthcare to the consumer rather than the consumer to healthcare,” Marcotte continue. “They continue to gain momentum as employers seek different ways to deliver cost effective, quality healthcare while improving access and the consumer experience.”

More than 50% of employers said their top initiative for 2020 is implementing more virtual care solutions, according to NBGH’s “2020 Large Employers Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey.”

AI Will Affect Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Diamandis is not the only visionary predicting big tech will continue to disrupt healthcare. During a presentation at last year’s Executive War College Conference on Laboratory and Pathology Management in New Orleans, Ted Schwab, a Los Angeles-area healthcare strategist and entrepreneur, said artificial intelligence (AI) will have a growing role in the healthcare industry.

“In AI, there are three trends to watch,” said health strategist Ted Schwab (above) while speaking at the 2019 Executive War College. “The first major AI trend will affect clinical laboratories and pathologists. It involves how diagnosis will be done on the Internet and via telehealth. The second AI trend is care delivery, such as what we’ve seen with Amazon’s Alexa—you should know that Amazon’s business strategy is to disrupt healthcare. And the third AI trend involves biological engineering,” he concluded. (Photo copyright: Dark Daily.)

Schwab’s perspectives on healthcare’s transformation are featured in an article in The Dark Report, Dark Daily’s sister publication, titled, “Strategist Explains Key Trends in Healthcare’s Transformation.”

“If you use Google in the United States to check symptoms, you’ll get five-million to 11-million hits,” Schwab told The Dark Report. “Clearly, there’s plenty of talk about symptom checkers, and if you go online now, you’ll find 350 different electronic applications that will give you medical advice—meaning you’ll get a diagnosis over the internet. These applications are winding their way somewhere through the regulatory process.

“The FDA just released a report saying it plans to regulate internet doctors, not telehealth doctors and not virtual doctors,” he continued. “Instead, they’re going to regulate machines. This news is significant because, today, within an hour of receiving emergency care, 45% of Americans have googled their condition, so the cat is out of the bag as it pertains to us going online for our medical care.”

Be Proactive, Not Reactive, Health Leaders Say

Healthcare leaders need to work on improving access to primary care, instead of becoming defensive or reactive to tech companies, several healthcare CEOs told Becker’s Hospital Review.

Clinical laboratory leaders are advised to keep an eye on these virtual healthcare trends and be open to assisting doctors engaged in telehealth services and online diagnostic activities.

—Donna Marie Pocius

Related Information:

2020 Executive War College on Lab and Pathology Management – April 28-29

Amazon and Apple Will Be Our Doctors in the Future, Says Tech Guru Peter Diamandis

Introducing New Alexa Healthcare Skills

Livongo for Diabetes Program Releases HIPAA-Compliant Amazon Alexa Skill

“Answers by Cigna” Skill for Amazon Alexa Simplifies, Personalizes Healthcare Information

2020 Predictions for Amazon, Haven, Google, Apple

Health Strategies of Google, Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft

How Big Tech Is Disrupting Big Healthcare

Large Employers Double Down on Efforts to Stem Rising U.S. Health Benefit Costs which are Expected to Top $15,000 per Employee in 2020: Employers cite virtual care and strategies to manage high cost claims as top initiatives for 2020

How to Compete Against Amazon, Apple, Google: Three Healthcare CEOS on How to Compete Against the Industry’s Most Disruptive Forces

UnitedHealthcare Offers Apple Watches to Wellness Program Participants Who Meet Fitness Goals; Clinical Laboratories Can Participate and Increase Revenues

Strategist Explains Key Trends in Healthcare’s Transformation

Walmart and Home Depot Employ Copay Accumulators to Keep Employee Healthcare Costs Down and Encourage Utilization of Generic Prescription Drugs

While clinical laboratories may not be directly affected by copay accumulators, anything that affects patients’ ability to pay for healthcare will likely impact lab revenues as well

Here’s a new term and strategy that some big employers are deploying in an attempt to control the choice of health benefits provided to their employees. The term is “copay accumulator” and it is intended to offset efforts by pharmaceutical companies to minimize what consumers must pay out-of-pocket for expensive prescription drugs.

Clinical laboratory managers and pathologists will have a front row seat to watch this next round in the struggle between industry giants for control over how patients pay for drugs and treatment regimes.

Pharmaceutical companies on one side and health insurers and employers on the other side have played brinksmanship over medication copays for years. Now at the center of this struggle are copay accumulators, a relatively new feature of plans from insurers and pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) on behalf of the large employers they serve.

More than 41-million Americans use copay accumulators, and about nine million use similar though limited copay maximizer programs, Zitter Health Insights, a New Jersey-based pharma and managed care consultancy firm, told Reuters.

Now, big employers are getting in on the game. Walmart (NYSE:WMT) and Home Depot (NYSE:HD) are among a growing number of companies using copay accumulators and copay maximizers to keep their healthcare costs down and encourage employees to seek lower-cost alternatives to expensive brand prescriptions (generic drugs).

About 25% of employers currently use such programs, and 50% of employers are anticipated to be doing so in just two more years, the National Business Group on Health told Reuters.

What Are Copay Accumulators and How Do They Work?

In response to popular drug company discount cards, insurance companies developed the “copay accumulator.” Here’s how it works.

Typically, patients’ insurance plan deductibles can be thousands of dollars. Thus, even after plan discounts, patients often pay hundreds, even thousands of dollars each month for prescribed medications. Insurance companies see a beneficial side to this, stating the cost encourages patients to be aware of their medications and motivates them to try lower-cost non-branded alternatives (generic drugs), all of which saves insurance plans money.

However, many patients with high-deductibles balk at paying the high cost. They opt to not fill prescriptions, which costs pharmaceutical companies money.

To encourage patients to fill prescriptions, drug companies provide discount cards to help defray the cost of the drugs. The difference between the discounted payment and the full price of the drug is paid by the pharmaceutical company. But these discount cards interfere with insurance companies’ ability to effectively track their enrollees’ drug usage, which impacts the payers’ bottom lines.

Thus, health insurance companies developed the copay accumulator, which Dark Daily explained in, “Copay Accumulators Is a New Tactic in Struggle Between Payers and Pharma at Patients’ Expense,” October 24, 2018.

When a patient uses a drug discount card at the point-of-sale, the sale is noted by the patient’s health insurer and the insurer’s copay accumulator program kicks in. It caps the total accumulated discount an enrollee can take for that medication and prevents any patient payments to apply toward the plan’s deductible. Once the drug company’s discount card threshold is reached, the patient bears the full cost of the drug, a ZS Associates Active Ingredient blog post explained.

Geoffrey Joyce, PhD
“There are no good guys here. This is about control of the market,” said Geoffrey Joyce, PhD (above), Chair, Department of Pharmaceuticals and Health Economics, University of Southern California, told the Los Angeles Times. “The loser is the patient.” (Photo copyright: Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management.)

Critics of copay accumulators point out that patients could end up paying full price for extremely expensive prescriptions they previously accessed with discount cards, while simultaneously making no progress toward fulfilling their insurance deductibles. Or, they will simply stop taking their medications altogether.

“A medication which previously cost $7 may suddenly cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars because the maximum amount of copay assistance from the [drug] manufacturer was reached,” noted Ken Majkowski, Pharm.D, Chief Pharmacy Officer at FamilyWize (a company that offers its own prescription savings programs), in a blog post. “Since the health plan will no longer allow the copay amounts to contribute to the patient’s deductible, the cost of the medication remains very high.”

Major Employers Implement Their Own Copay Accumulator Programs

Enter the next goliath into the fray—the large employer. Executives at Walmart and Home Depot say discount drug coupons drive up healthcare costs and give their employees and their family members no incentive to explore lower cost alternatives, Reuters reported.

Walmart’s pharmacy benefits are managed by Express Scripts, a prescription benefit plan provider that fills millions of prescriptions annually, according to the company’s website.  Meanwhile, Home Depot’s pharmacy benefits are operated by CVSHealth, which focuses on therapies for cystic fibrosis, hepatitis C, cancer, HIV, psoriasis, pulmonary arterial hypertension, and hyperlipidemia, Reuters noted.

Insurance Associations Weigh-In

Health insurance company representatives say the need for copay accumulators begins with the high price of pharmaceuticals. Insurers are not the only ones concerned about these costs. The American Hospital Association (AHA), the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH), and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) recently released a report showing total drug spending per hospital admission increased by 18% between 2015 and 2017, and some drug categories rose more than 80%.

University of Chicago National Opinion Research Center (NORC) compiled the data for the report.

“The bigger question is why do we need copay coupons at all? It’s very important to recognize the problem starts with the [drug] price. This is the real underlying problem,” Cathryn Donaldson, Director of Communications, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), told the Los Angeles Times.

In their blog post, ZS Associates advised drug companies to “push-back” on the copay accumulators. The Evanston, Ill.-based consultancy firm recommends pharma executives change the way they run the discount cards—such as paying rebates directly to patients instead of working through pharmacies.

Medical laboratory leaders need to be aware of programs, such as copay accumulators, and the associated issues that affect patients’ ability to pay for their healthcare. Because large numbers of patients struggle to pay these high deductibles, it means clinical laboratories will be competing more frequently with hospitals, physicians, imaging providers, and others to get patients to pay their lab test bills.

—Donna Marie Pocius

Related Information:

Walmart, Home Depot Adopt Health Insurer Tactic in Drug Copay Battle

Five Steps to Address the Pain Points of Copay Accumulator Programs

They’re Called Copay Accumulators, and They’re a Way Insurance Companies Make You Pay More for Meds

Understanding Copay Accumulators

Walmart and Home Depot are Adopting this Insurer Tactic

Recent Trends in Hospital Drug Spending and Manufacturer Shortages

Copay Accumulators is a New Tactic in Struggle Between Payers and Pharma at Patient’s Expense

Copay Accumulators Is a New Tactic in Struggle Between Payers and Pharma at Patients’ Expense

Though patients get a big discount when paying for drugs, copay accumulators prohibit discounts from applying to plan deductibles, extending time it takes for enrollees to reach full plan coverage

There’s a new insurance/payer industry tactic in town and Dark Daily thinks clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups should know about it. It’s called a “copay accumulator” and it was designed by payers in response to pharmaceutical company copay assistance cards and discount coupons.

How do Copay Accumulators Work?

Many consumers use manufacturer copay assistance programs, copay cards, and coupons to afford expensive brand-name medications. As payers attempt to make consumers pay a higher portion of drug costs, pharmaceutical companies have responded by offering financial aid to patients in the form of copay assistance cards and coupons. These discounts insulate patients from having to pay the full deductible required by their health insurance plans for medicines prescribed by their doctors.

However, payers say these deductibles were designed to motivate patients to monitor the price of prescribed drugs and discourage the overutilization of costly medicines. A primary goal of price transparency and precision medicine.

The upside to payers is, with a copay accumulator in place, the amount of those manufacturer discounts does not count toward the patient’s insurance deductible. And the longer it takes for patients to reach their deductibles, the longer the insurer gets to collect copays, which adds to the controversy of copay accumulators.

Also, prohibiting drug manufacturer discounts from counting toward a patient’s insurance deductible prolongs the time patients have to wait before full coverage begins. Thus, more upfront costs are shifted to consumers.

“Copay accumulator programs are nothing more than insurance scheme[s] that leave patients financially exposed while benefiting payers’ bottom lines,” Stephen J. Ubl, President and Chief Executive Officer, Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), told the LA Times.

Others, however, claim manufacturer discounts are simply marketing schemes used by pharmaceutical companies to keep drug costs high.

“The true issue remains that drug pricing continues to skyrocket, with no clear explanation on how those prices are set,” Cathryn Donaldson, Director of Communications, America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), told the LA Times. “Copay coupon programs hide the true impact of rising prescription drug costs.” (Photo copyright: AHIP.)

Patients Stuck in the Middle

Physicians and patient advisory groups worry that shifting more drug costs to patients may affect therapy adherence and cause confusion for consumers.

“Accumulators are seen as a way to keep manufacturers in line and force them to negotiate better deals,” Randy Vogenberg, PhD, Principal, Institute for Integrated Healthcare (IIH), told Managed Care.

“But the Achilles heel for the pharmacy benefits manager is that you’re hurting the patient, who is stuck in the middle,” continued Vogenberg. “Patients may end up not taking or getting a drug, which is not good for anyone. And it’s not really affecting pricing because patients are still hurting. Unfortunately, it makes the third-party payer look like a crook.”

Managed Care notes that, according to a recent survey of 170 employers conducted by the National Business Group on Health (NBGH), 29% of employers plan on using copay accumulators in 2019. That’s up from the 17% of employers who are currently using them.

“They are not universal yet,” Steve Wojcik, Vice President of Public Policy at the NBGH, told Managed Care. “But they will probably continue to be one tool that employers use to keep costs down.”

Drug Costs Down, Cost to Patients Up

The struggles between payers and big pharma could be heating up. Studies show utilization of copay accumulators may be negatively impacting drug company revenue. Research conducted by Sector and Sovereign (SSR) found that retail drug prices in the United States fell 5.6% during the first quarter of this year. During the same period last year, prices fell just 1.7%. SSR’s report states that most of the decline in prices is due to copay accumulators.

“Unless manufacturers adapt their copay support programs fairly drastically, net price declines may worsen in 2019,” SSR analyst Richard Evans told Reuters.

Clinical laboratories might not directly feel the effects of copay accumulators. Nevertheless, anything that impacts patients’ ability to pay, especially those on high-deductible health plans, should be on the radar of smart lab managers and stakeholders.

—JP Schlingman

Related Information:

Copay Accumulators: Costly Consequences of a New Cost-Shifting Pharmacy Benefit

Backlash Against Copay Accumulators

Copay Accumulators: The Deductible Double-Dip

They’re Called ‘Copay Accumulators,’ and They’re a Way Insurers Make You Pay More for Meds

Insurance Tactic Drags Down U.S. Drug Prices in 2nd Quarter

Telemedicine Gaining Momentum in US as Large Employers Look for Ways to Decrease Costs; Trend Has Implications for Pathology Groups and Medical Laboratories

Increased use of telemedicine may create opportunities for clinical laboratories to deliver increased value to both physicians and nurses

Recent data shows widespread employer adoption of telehealth services may soon become a reality. However, studies also show virtual provider visits and other telemedicine technologies are unlikely to diminish the role of clinical laboratories in providing the data required for diagnosis and treatment decisions. Instead, laboratories and anatomic pathology groups will likely see changes in how samples are collected from patients using telemedicine and how medical laboratory test results are reported, as access to telemedicine grows.

A recent National Business Group on Health (NBGH) survey indicates that in 2018 “virtually all [large] employers (96%) will make telehealth services available in states where it is allowed.” The survey was conducted between May and June 2017, with 148 large employers participating.

Christine Smalley, Managing Director with consulting firm Claremont Hudson, divides telemedicine technology into three distinct segments:

1.     Provider-to-provider;

2.     Remote patient monitoring; and,

3.     Patient-to-provider.

In an article she penned for MedCityNews, Smalley calls provider-to-provider telemedicine the “most evolved to-date” segment of the telehealth trend. She highlights ICU stroke care with remote consults and monitoring as an example of its “success,” and notes a large potential for growth in remote patient monitoring (RPM). Smalley cites a Berg Insight report that estimates 50-million patients will use remote monitored devices by 2021. However, Smalley also notes consumer acceptance of patient-to-provider telemedicine has fallen short of industry expectations.

While virtual office visits—where patients have access to physicians via telephone or videoconferencing—grab headlines, Smalley argues that “several factors” are hindering adoption.

“Reimbursement is not yet universal,” she notes. “But consumers are growing used to paying more out-of-pocket with high-deductible plans. Physicians have long resisted change in how they practice, and many remain lukewarm at best about telemedicine. It’s no coincidence that many of the innovations and pioneering models have come from outside of healthcare delivery … The barriers that loom the largest may likely be consumer awareness and trial.”

The Center for Connected Health Policy (CCHP) reports that 35 states have laws governing private payer reimbursement of telehealth, a number that has not changed since 2016. According to a CCHP press release, some state laws require reimbursement be equal to in-person visits, though not all laws mandate reimbursement.

Adopting Existing Retail Models to Promote Telemedicine to Patients

Smalley contends “smart marketing” will be needed to get consumers to leverage the telemedicine options that are becoming available to them. She says simply offering video or telephone visits is not enough. She encourages integrated delivery systems to take a page out of retailers’ playbooks.

“Look at how retailers, like Walmart, integrate online shopping and the store experience by offering side-by-side options supporting product delivery and in-store pickup. Telemedicine options ultimately need to be offered in a way that feels integrated and seamless to the health consumer,” she suggested, in her MedCityNews article. One example, she notes, would be providing an easy-to-navigate link to a virtual visit on a healthcare network’s urgent care webpage.

Telemedicine isn’t just about the office visit. Pathologists such as J.B. Askew, MD, PA (above), have embraced telepathology technology to bring pathology interpretation services to remote and resource strapped areas worldwide. (Click on image above to watch a video of Askew demonstrating the use of a telepathology imaging system.) (Image/video copyright: J.B. Askew, MD, PA, North Houston Pathology Associates/Meyer Instruments.)

Click image above to see YouTube video

Healthcare Spending Could Increase Due to Telehealth

While health plans have zeroed in on telehealth as a way to drive down healthcare costs, a 2017 RAND Corp. study published in Health Affairs found virtual visits to physicians might not decrease spending, though access to care is improved.

“Instead of saving money by substitution [replacing more expensive visits to physician offices or EDs], direct-to-consumer telehealth may increase spending by new utilization [increasing the total number of patient visits],” a MedCityNews article suggests.

The RAND study examined commercial claims data of workers enrolled in the California Public Employees’ Retirement System (CalPERS) Blue Shield of California HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) from 2011-2013. Researchers focused on care received for acute respiratory infections. According to a RAND press release, net annual spending for acute respiratory infections increased by $45 per telehealth user.

“Given that direct-to-consumer telehealth is even more convenient than traveling to retail clinics, it may not be surprising that an even greater share of telehealth services represents new medical use,” noted Lori Uscher-Pines, PhD, a RAND Policy Researcher. “There may be a dose response with respect to convenience and use: the more convenient the location, the lower the threshold for seeking care and the greater the use of medical services.”

Telehealth in Clinical Laboratories

Will telehealth services offered by hospital networks and healthcare providers impact clinical laboratories? While a physical visit is still required for drawing blood, collecting urine, or performing pathology testing, interpretive digital pathology, such as Whole Slide Imaging (AKA, Virtual Slide), does enable pathologists to provided distance interpretation services of blood tests to remote and/or resource deficient areas of the world, as Dark Daily reported in past e-briefings. This could become a substantial revenue stream in the future if telepathology’s global popularity continues to rise.

—Andrea Downing Peck

Related Information:

Telemedicine Is on the Rise, Including for Labs

Large U.S. Employers Project Health Care Benefit Costs to Surpass $14,000 per Employee in 2018, National Business Group on Health Survey Finds

Large Employers’ 2018 Health Care Strategy and Plan Design Survey

Take a Lesson from Retail to Improve Patient Adoption

mHealth and Home Monitoring

Direct-to-Consumer Telehealth Prompts New Use of Medical Services; Not Likely to Decrease Health Spending

State Telehealth Laws and Reimbursement Policies, April 2017

CCHP Releases Fifth Edition of 50 State Telehealth Lawns and Reimbursement Policies Report

Almost All Large Employers Plan to Offer Telehealth in 2018, but Will Employees Use It?

Direct-to-Consumer Telehealth May Increase Access to Care but Does Not Decrease Spending

International Telemedicine Gains Momentum, Opening New Markets for Pathologists and Other Specialists

‘Nighthawk’ Radiology Services Expand to Hospital Pharmacies: Could Pathology Laboratories Be Next?

From Micro-hospitals to Mobile ERs: New Models of Healthcare Create Challenges and Opportunities for Pathologists and Medical Laboratories

Study Reveals Surprises in How Healthcare Consumers Respond to Wellness Programs and Incentives, Some of Which Utilize Clinical Laboratory Tests as Benchmarks

80% of US employers are using financial incentives in wellness programs, and Penn Medicine research suggests better incentive design is needed to get people to exercise

In recent years, there’s been plenty of headlines about wellness programs offered by employers and health insurers. Data show that such programs are cost-effective. But, until now, there were few studies about employees’ attitudes toward wellness programs. Because some of these wellness programs incorporate clinical laboratory testing, medical labs have a stake in their future.

The fact is that companies want healthier employees and they’re willing to pay for it. Experts say about 80% of US employers use financial incentives in worker wellness programs. And for each dollar a company spends on a wellness program, it saves about $3 in medical costs, according to an article the journal Health Affairs. (more…)