We write many articles about how technology is disrupting traditional healthcare models, improving outcomes while lowering costs.The problem is that these gains need to be more than just theory; we need to see documented cases where disruptive technology is having a positive impact. Here’s another data point in the growing list of success stories.

Accolade is an “on-demand healthcare concierge” service for self-insured employers, health plans, and healthcare systems. The company uses a Big Data approach to create detailed profiles of employees in order to provide more effective services. The company also uses technology to engage with employees on a more frequent basis, and two-thirds of the time it is before a care event occurs. This proactive approach can pay big dividends. According to a recent retrospective study of some of the company’s largest clients, the system is able to save 3% to 5% in annual claim costs in the first year, and up to 15% after five years. The return on investment is about 3:1. These cost savings can add up to millions of dollars per year for companies with tens of thousands of employees, but the study also shows that these savings do not have to come at the expense of employee satisfaction. In fact, the company’s study reports a 98% employee satisfaction with the program, and two- to three-times the use of benefit programs.

According to Accolade, the study shows that “early engagement often results in fewer emergency room visits, fewer hospital admissions, shorter inpatient stays and better utilization of preventive care and prescription drugs,” which in turn leads to both better outcomes for the employees and lower overall costs for the employer. Digital health is already having a demonstrated positive impact on healthcare, and will benefit both individuals and our community as a whole.