A St. Louis health system that operates one of the country’s first all-virtual hospitals is putting $2 million into its next digital healthcare initiative.
Mercy, one of the nation’s largest Catholic non-profit healthcare systems, is forming a joint venture with a Danvers, Mass., healthcare costs analysis and services company, to provide cost projection data and digital health and wellness services to employers, large financial services companies that oversee 401K and other retirement programs, and other healthcare groups.
The new joint venture from Mercy and HealthView Services—HealthyCapital—aims to help employers and other client companies calculate expected healthcare costs for covered individuals based on health conditions, age, gender and where they live.
HealthyCapital will use a database of 70 million healthcare claims along with actuarial, government and economic data to project an individual’s potential out-of-pocket cost savings from changes in lifestyle and how they manage their health and health problems. HealthyCapital, which Mercy says combines its expertise in population health management and delivery of digital healthcare services with HealthView’s cost projection and management analysis services, will help employers save money by giving employees more incentive to live healthier and join a health and wellness program.
“Half of all adults in the U.S. have a chronic condition, and around 50% stop taking prescribed medications within six months of their diagnosis,” says Dr. Raymond Weick, chief medical officer, HealthyCapital, and vice president, physician growth and business development at Mercy. “Until now we haven’t had access to actuarial data that shows individual patients the financial benefits of health condition management and lifestyle changes. HealthyCapital addresses this need.”
HealthyCapital also will provide support services to help individuals follow treatment instructions and adopt healthier behaviors. The company’s platform offers users the option to sign up for health coaching through a text messaging service, which sends tailored messages based on individual healthcare goals, Mercy says.
HealthyCapital is offering examples of data that show the benefits of it services to employers and employees. For example, an average 45-year-old male with high blood pressure who adheres to his physician’s treatment plan and adopts simple healthier lifestyle behaviors will gain three years in life expectancy (age 84 to 87) and pay $65,000 less in pre-retirement, out-of-pocket health care costs than an average individual who only partially follows treatment advice and instructions, HealthyCapital says.
HealthyCapital will charge employers on a per-user basis with additional fees for such additional services as digital healthcare coaching. The company plans to offer financial services companies system-wide licenses at negotiated prices, says HealthyCapital CEO Ron Mastrogiovanni. He also is CEO of HealthView Services.
There are a range of commercial healthcare cost analysis services available for purchase by providers. HealthyCapital is different because it show employees directly how much money can be saved by a healthier lifestyle, while also helping employers by identifying employees with chronic or potentially chronic conditions, Mastrogiovanni says.
“We know from research and experience that money is a powerful motivator, but rewards have to be sufficient to drive change,” Mastrogiovanni says.
In 10 years of operation Mercy has expanded the money dedicated to new healthcare initiatives such as telehealth and population health management to more than $300 million over 10 years.
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