How a Large Tech Firm is Providing Better Healthcare at Lower Spend with Digital Health

July 2nd, 2020  by  Annie Barton

Working at a large software technology firm, 50-year-old Marcus spends most of his day advising clients as a program architect. In order to get through a full day of working at his desk, he took pain medications. Without these, Marcus’ back pain was unbearable.

This is not uncommon for tech employees. To address employees’ like Marcus’ chronic back pain, leading tech companies are innovating and redefining their healthcare benefits with digital health. By leveraging digital health solutions, tech firms can provide more effective treatment than traditional options like pain medication or surgery at much lower cost.

Tech firms see high medical spend

Musculoskeletal disorders drive high medical spend at tech firms. Marcus and his coworkers spend most of their time on their computers with limited movement during the work day. This often leads to chronic back and joint pain. A study in the Journal of Craniovertebral Junction & Spine stated, “More than 80% of people using computers for more than 4 hours complain of back pain.” After sitting in his chair all day, it’s no surprise that Marcus feels severe pain in his back, preventing him from doing his daily activities and exercise. To address this pain, many turn to elective surgery and pain medications--which are major cost drivers for tech firms.

According to a Truven Health Analytics study, “Musculoskeletal conditions are the costliest and most rapidly growing group of diseases.” Medical care for musculoskeletal disorders accounts for about 16% of total medical spend. This results in $85 million per year for companies with 100,000 members like many large tech firms. If Marcus wanted to have an elective surgery, it could cost up to $100,000, a hefty price tag for employers and health plans.

Reduced productivity due to chronic pain

Reduced productivity is another problem the tech industry faces as a result of chronic MSK pain. According to a study in JAMA, almost 5 hours per week are lost due to common pains like back pain. This results in huge annual costs for companies. “Lost productive time from common pain conditions among active workers costs an estimated $61.2 billion per year. The majority of the lost productive time was explained by reduced performance while at work.” The constant discomfort causes employees to be unfocused and less productive at work. The pain of sitting in a chair for hours may deter them from producing at their normal level. If they elect to have surgery, the amount of work days lost increases.

Let’s say Marcus chooses to get back surgery. First, he is running the risk of an unsuccessful attempt to ease his pain. After the surgery, he must take time off for recovery. Once he has recovered, he still has physical therapy appointments--losing more time off from work. From pre-surgery to post-surgery, Marcus has experienced lost productivity, taken time off of work, and had a costly surgery--driving up the financial impact to his employer.

Discovering confidence through pain relief

Marcus’ tech firm partnered with Hinge Health to provide their employees with the leading digital solution for musculoskeletal chronic pain. After just 12 weeks, Marcus experienced significant pain reduction and was able to wean himself off of the pain meds. He completed the sensor-guided exercise therapy with the support of a one-on-one health coach from the comfort of his own home on his own time. His likelihood of surgery dropped 80% and he said, “Being pain-free and without pain meds boosts my confidence.” Marcus was not alone, on average members at the large tech firm enjoyed a 58% reduction in chronic MSK pain after the Hinge Health program. What’s more by implementing Hinge Health to address back and joint pain, the large tech firm also reduced medical spend by 60%, and decreased lost work days by 62%. By choosing to participate in the Hinge Health program, Marcus saved his firm an average of $4500 in annual medical spend. Now, he is more productive at work and can get back to swimming, something he hasn’t done in years. By equipping employees with Hinge Health, the leading digital musculoskeletal solution chosen by employers, benefits leaders can provide better healthcare outcomes at lower spend for their members.

Download a copy of our case study to find out more data on how the large tech firm reduced chronic MSK pain more effectively with Hinge Health.

Annie Barton

About the Author

Annie Barton is a Marketing Associate at Hinge Health. She is originally from Chicago and recently graduated from Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. She has a background in exercise science and loves applying her knowledge to Hinge Health Blogs and living an active lifestyle. When not in the office, you'll find her doing ballet or cooking for her family and friends.

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