The Return on Investment (ROI) idea of integrated healthcare is moving toward long term care for longer cost management. Cognizant (2014) medical experts bring up the behavioral health question that embodies the preventative and short term ROI we are looking for: How do we get our members to do the health recommendations we know will improve their health outcomes? The issue, they explain, is quantifying the impact of preventative care. The challenge is measuring and identifying markers to define the impact of prevention programs.
As a health coach that operates in workplace wellness programs, I did a search on ROI’s for that particular aspect of prevention. Surprisingly, RAND Corporation (2014) did a study that showed wellness programs have little or no positive effect on the amount of money an employer can save on health care (References). What they were measuring was employee participation, which was terribly low at around 13%. They also measured the ratio of reductions in health care costs compared to program costs, including fees, vendors and screenings for employees. While the healthcare reduction measurement, hospital admissions, did decrease by 30%, the ROI for the total program was considered “not enough to make the program pay off financially” (RAND, 2014. P. 3). The study did highlight that the higher the risk of the illness, the more the ROI for the program would be. That statistic is in reference to the higher benefit the company had in the disease management coaching program as compared to the lifestyle, or prevention management program. Unfortunately those ROI tools used in the study pointed to disease management as more economically effective than preventative health efforts. This finding is consistent with the aforementioned issue of adequately measuring and identifying markers to define value for preventative health programming. If different, longer term, value based outcome ROI tools were measured, maybe the preventative health program could be fiscally sustainable. Studies like this will need to collect data over years to determine the answer to that question. Anyone have a suggestion for an ROI measurement to use for prevention?