Here at Health Tech Insider, we frequently beat the drum of “earlier treatment, better outcomes, and lower healthcare costs” for wearable Health Tech devices. Even so, we’re right in line with C-level corporate executives who say, “Really? Prove it!” That’s why we’re spend a lot of time covering scientific studies that demonstrate the benefits of wearables and other digital health products and systems. If the wearables industry is going to make the transition from an expensive luxury to a commonplace essential, we need hard, reliable numbers. And I’m glad to say that the mountains of evidence continue to pile up.
Here’s the latest exhibit: “Wearable Technology: Unlocking ROI of Workplace Wellness” from Springbuk. This report covers a retrospective analysis of three years of data from an unnamed “self-insured employer” with more than 20,000 employees. The company made Fitbit devices available at a discount to employees who wanted to participate, and nearly 1,000 took advantage of the offer. These subjects were matched up with about 1,800 fellow workers who matched based on a variety of factors including age, gender, and health history.
The results of the analysis were striking. The employees who opted into the wearables program cost their employers more than $1,100 less per year than the control group: a 25% reduction. The bulk of the gain came from those employees who were less active, based on their daily step count; their health claims costs were cut in half.
These savings add up to more than $1 million for this case study, which is significant when you consider that less than 5% of the company workforce participated in the program. If all large companies could save $1,000 per year on healthcare costs for their employees, we could see a massive impact on healthcare costs very quickly.