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How Supported Self-Management Reduces The Cost Of Chronic Disease

Posted by Siobhan Bulfin on Dec 5, 2019 11:02:47 AM

According to the CDC

-  6-in-10 adults in the U.S. have a chronic disease. 

-  4-in-10 adults have two or more.

-  90% of the nation’s $3.3 trillion in annual health care expenditures are for people with chronic physical and mental health conditions. 


Annual spending on health care in the United States has crossed the $10,000 per person threshold, according to the CHCF Almanac. This is more than twice that of nearly every other developed country, including Canada and the United Kingdom.

A Closer Look at the Costs of Chronic Disease

Obesity: Affecting almost 1-in-5 children and 1-in-3 adults, obesity increases a person’s risk of developing chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and certain cancers. Obesity costs the U.S. health care system $147 billion a year.

Diabetes: More than 30 million Americans have diabetes but 1-in-4 don’t know they have it. Diabetes can cause heart disease, stroke, kidney failure and blindness. Diabetes costs the U.S. health care system $237 billion a year.  

Cardiovascular Disease: Heart disease, stroke and other cardiovascular diseases kill more than 859,000 Americans each year. That’s 1-in-3 deaths. Cardiovascular disease costs the U.S. health care system $213.8 billion a year. 

Chronic Pain Management: In 2016, an estimated 20.4% of U.S. adults had chronic pain. Health economists estimate the cost of chronic pain in the U.S. is as high as $635 billion a year. This is more than the combined yearly costs of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

Osteoarthritis (OA): OA, the most common type of arthritis, affects more than 30 million adults in the U.S. It is one of the most expensive conditions when joint replacement surgery is required. In 2013, OA cost the U.S. health care system $140 billion.

Congestive Heart Failure (CHF): About 5.7 million adults in the U.S. have heart failure and approximately half of people who develop heart failure die within 5 years of diagnosis. Heart failure costs the U.S health care system an estimated $30.7 billion each year.

COPD: Almost 15.7 million Americans (6.4%) have been diagnosed with COPD. In 2014, COPD was the third leading cause of death in the U.S. In 2010, health care costs were $32.1 billion and are projected increase to $49.0 billion by 2020.

Mental Health Disorders:19.1% of U.S. adults (47.6 million) experienced mental illness in 2018. This represents 1-in-5 adults.People with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. In 2013, health care for anxiety and depression cost the U.S. $201 billion.

Schizophrenia: 1.1% of U.S. adults were diagnosed with schizophrenia (3.5 million) in the U.S. in 2013. This cost the U.S. health care system $155.7 billion with an average of $44,773 per person.

 Cancer Survivorship:

According to the CDC, the number of people with a history of cancer in the U.S. increased from 3 million in 1971 to approximately 13.4 million in 2012, representing 4.6% of the population. Given the advances in early detection and treatment, the number of cancer survivors is projected to increase by 30% during the next decade, to approximately 18 million. 

Cancer survivors face many challenges including medical care follow-up, managing the long-term and late effects of treatments, monitoring for recurrence, and an increased risk for additional cancers.

From 2008 to 2010, the additional cost of a recently diagnosed cancer survivor was $16,213 (age 18 to 64 years) and $16,441 (age 65 years and older). 

Among previously diagnosed cancer survivors, the additional cost was $4,427 per survivor (age 18 to 64 years) and $4,519 (age 65 years and older).

Managing these conditions, through patient self engagement, can reduce the cost of health care.  

Let’s Take Prediabetes as an Example 

 Prediabetes is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. 

-  More than 84 million adults in the U.S. (that’s 1-in-3) have prediabetes

-  90% don’t know they are prediabetic


Diagnosed diabetes (all ages), undiagnosed diabetes, gestational diabetes, and pre-diabetes (adults) exceeded $322 billion in 2012 with $244 billion in medical costs and $78 billion in reduced productivity. 

Combined, this amounted to an economic burden exceeding $1,000 for each American in 2012. This national estimate is 48% higher than the $218 billion estimate for 2007. The burden per case averaged $10,970 for diagnosed diabetes, $5,800 for gestational diabetes, $4,030 for undiagnosed diabetes, and $510 for pre-diabetes.

More than 84 million adults in the U.S. (that’s 1 in 3) have pre-diabetes. 90% don’t know they are prediabetic.

Screen Shot 2019-12-05 at 8.49.27 AMOut of those 84 million patients with prediabetes, a self-management platform can help the majority of them take an active role in their own health, lowering the cost of their chronic condition.

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Here’s the Story of One Person with Prediabetes

 Brian checked all the at-risk boxes. He was overweight, had just turned 52-years-old and despite being a runner for most of his life, his work and family obligations filled his days and nights. He hadn’t gone for a run in years. 

When Brian was told he was prediabetic, he knew he needed to change his lifestyle—fast. 

His doctor, in addition to talking with Brian about his diagnosis, asked him if he’d like to work with one of the practice’s health coaches. Because the program was online, Brian would be able to login and reach out for support when he needed it, and when it was convenient for him.

Brian immediately engaged with his online community. He chatted with people who, like him, were working to get their conditions under control. He turned to his online community when he needed answers and when he felt defeated. He even became a source of support for the new members who joined the group.

After a few short months, Brian’s motivation to self manage his prediabetes was yielding results. He was more mindful of his diet, started walking and felt better—and in more control of his health—than he had in years.

And even though it’s expected that Brian will reverse his diagnosis, he has made changes that will last a lifetime.

This will help him prevent the onset of a more serious chronic condition.

It will also prevent him from adding to the cost of the U.S. health care system.

Brian’s story is not unique. A self-management platform like Melon can work for your patients,

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too. When we work with a health system’s patients or health plan’s members we drive better patient outcomes. For instance, in our work with patients with prediabetes, 78% are no longer pre-diabetic.

Ready to incorporate self-management into your health care organization? Talk with an expert today.

Topics: healthcare,, whole person care, value based care

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Why Choose a Digital Platform? 

Whether you are offering the DPP In-Person, Combination, or Online, having a digital platform has many benefits.  A digital platform offers an engaging online community, HIPAA compliant messaging, fitness and nutrition tracking,  an extensive food database, and online modules for make-up sessions.  Increase your participant engagement and maximize your coach efficiency by adding a digital platform to your current DPP Program.  

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How To Activate Patients

Discover how engaging your consumers in their own health makes them and your organization healthier. 

  • Uncover the secret to real patient engagement
  • Find new ways to drive revenue.
  • Enable behavior change
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