High Engagement, Lower Costs, Greater Productivity

Why Hinge Health is key to the Illinois Institute of Technology's rewards strategy—and beloved by employees

Published Date: Sep 14, 2023

Viktoria Rill, SHRM-SCP
Director, Total Rewards, Illinois Institute of Technology

Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT) is the only technology-focused university in the Chicago area. Like many organizations, budgets are tight and we are trying to do more with less. Hinge Health plays a central role in our total rewards strategy and is one of the most loved benefits programs among employees. 

Illinois Institute of Technology 

IIT has a total student enrollment of approximately 6,500 and the workforce consists of 400 professional office staff, 600 full-time faculty, and 450 adjunct faculty members. Janitorial, public safety, and food service roles are outsourced. 

Illinois Institute of Technology’s benefits philosophy and challenges

When it comes to benefits, IIT focuses on a total rewards strategy. Our goal is to offer benefits that will increase employee engagement, improve talent retention, and attract the best candidates. 

In addition to health, dental, vision, prescription, and life insurance benefits, IIT provides employees with great solutions targeted at particular health issues like Hinge Health for MSK conditions, Livongo for diabetes management, Ovia Health for family health, and Blue Cross Blue Shield’s Well onTarget programs. One of my priorities is to direct more employees to these tools.

A significant challenge is getting employees’ attention and generating greater awareness about IIT’s benefits. When people realize that tools are available and easy to use, they use them and see improvements in their conditions which translates into lower claims costs down the line. 

We use a variety of communication methods to connect with employees, including a bi-weekly email newsletter, open enrollment meetings, an intranet page, and presentations to employees. One-on-one demos for employees often have a significant impact. If you can get employees excited about something in that way, they will tell co-workers and that helps to spread the word. 

Hinge Health has been a win for both IIT employees and the benefits team

When looking for an MSK solution, our major concerns at IIT were finding a program that would save the institution money, be easy to implement, and deliver a good member experience. During Hinge Health’s initial pitch, the return on investment looked promising. Based on this information, we decided to move forward

The program implementation was incredibly easy. That was very important, because my bandwidth is very limited. If implementing a benefit is going to make my life more difficult, IIT probably isn’t going to adopt it. Hinge Health handled the member outreach, determined member eligibility, and submitted participant claims. One of the most effective communication tools was a direct mail piece that Hinge Health sent to employees with IIT’s logo on it.

Members are experiencing significantly less pain and planned surgeries have plummeted 

To date, we’ve been pleased with the results that we’ve seen from Hinge Health:

  • Employee engagement. Our members average 2.9 exercise therapy sessions and 3.5 care team interactions per week during the 12-week Hinge Health program. 

  • Pain. Over the 12-week program, each participant experienced an average pain reduction of 54%. 

  • Surgery intent. In addition, we’ve seen a 58% decrease in surgery intent over the next year among participants which is fantastic. 

  • Productivity. Overall, we’ve seen a 58% decrease in pain-related absenteeism and presenteeism after implementing Hinge Health.

  • Financial gain. Our projected ROI for Hinge Health is 3.9x.

One of the most gratifying things about Hinge Health has been the overwhelmingly positive feedback from our employees. People stop me in the hall to tell me how much they love the program. 

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