A chronic disease management program launched three years ago by
Australia’s largest not-for-profit health insurer, the Hospitals
Contributions Fund (HCF), has been found to significantly reduce the
rate of hospital admissions for participants with heart disease and
diabetes. The My Health Guardian program leads to reduced
healthcare costs by helping people with chronic diseases self-manage
their conditions. Published in the peer-reviewed journal, Population
Health Management, the program’s impact on hospital admissions
is reported in a first-of-its-kind study in Australia. These
significant changes in healthcare utilization are indicative of improved
population health and lead to reduced healthcare cost.
An evaluation of the program compared more than 5,000 My Health
Guardian participants suffering from chronic heart disease and
diabetes with a statistically comparable group of more than 23,000
non-participating HCF members with the same two conditions. Rates of
hospital admission and readmission and the average length of stay (ALOS)
were measured for both participating and non-participating groups over
one year prior to the program’s commencement (as baseline), and again
after the first 12 and 18 months of the program’s operation.
“The study bolsters the case for investment in effective chronic disease
programs,” said HCF Managing Director Shaun Larkin. “Chronic illness
accounts for 70% of Australia’s national disease burden today, and this
is expected to increase to 80% by 2020. If we are serious about easing
the strain on our health system, we need to gather evidence on programs
that work. My Health Guardian offers a template for the
Among key findings of the evaluation:
The program participant group (heart disease and diabetes) uniformly
recorded lower hospital admission and readmission rates and ALOS than
the non-participating group, after both the 12-month and 18-month
For participants with heart disease, the difference in percentage
change in hospital admission rates compared to non-participants was
-7.2% and -12.0% after 12 months and 18 months respectively. This
participating group also recorded statistically significant
improvement in readmission rate after 12 and 18 months and ALOS after
18 months compared to non-participants.
For diabetes sufferers, the difference in percentage change in
hospital admission rates was -7.8% after 12 months and -13.4% after 18
months for program participants compared to non-participants.
The outperformance of program participants versus non-participants on
all measures widened the longer they were in the program.
Launched as a A$100 million investment by HCF, My Health
Guardian offers support to members suffering from up to 12 chronic
conditions, including diabetes and heart disease, which together account
for the bulk of chronic illness in Australia. The program is delivered
by population health provider Healthways and includes care management
calls, personalized online health support, regular health assessments,
health action plans and tracking of health behavior.
“Another significant implication of this study is the successful
adaptation of a program model pioneered in the United States to improve
outcomes in the context of the Australian culture and healthcare
system,” said Dr. James Pope, M.D. F.A.C.C., co-author of the study and
vice president, Chief Science Officer at Healthways. “We were very
pleased with the rates of participation among HCF members and the
program’s strong outcomes. These results suggest comprehensive chronic
care programs could by adopted by other countries that are experiencing
rising prevalence of chronic disease along with the significant
accompanying increase in medical expenditures and decrease in quality of
Results from the study indicate that the My Health Guardian
program offers an effective, scalable solution to contain costs by
reducing lengthy hospital admissions through remote clinical support and
online education and management resources.
Healthways (NASDAQ: HWAY) is the largest independent global provider of
well-being improvement solutions. Dedicated to creating a healthier
world one person at a time, the Company uses the science of behavior
change to produce and measure positive change in well-being for our
customers, which include employers, integrated health systems,
hospitals, physicians, health plans, communities and government
entities. We provide highly specific and personalized support for each
individual and their team of experts to optimize each participant’s
health and productivity and to reduce health-related costs. Results are
achieved by addressing longitudinal health risks and care needs of
everyone in a given population. The Company has scaled its proprietary
technology infrastructure and delivery capabilities developed over 30
years and now serves approximately 40 million people on four continents.
Learn more at www.healthways.com.
HCF is Australia’s largest not-for-profit health insurer, currently
covering over 1.5 million Australians. HCF has exceeded the industry
growth rate each year for the past five years, consistently pays back
more in benefits from earned contributions than the industry average. As
well as health insurance, HCF operates a niche life insurance business,
HCF Life, a retirement and aged care accommodation business under the
Manchester Unity brand, and seven specialist dental and eyecare centres.
Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/multimedia/home/20121203006435/en/