Close to half (44 percent) of employees admit they have deferred healthcare during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Willis Towers Watson survey of 5,000 employees in October 2020 also found that “29 percent who have deferred care said their health suffered as a result of cancelling an appointment or treatment, while 40 percent say their health will suffer.”
The American Cancer Society reports "a substantial decline in cancer screening." According to the Epic Health Research Network, when COVID-19 was initially declared a national emergency, there was an abrupt drop in preventive cancer screenings. Specifically, colon cancer screenings declined by 86 percent and breast and cervical cancer screenings by 94 percent.
Delayed screenings may result in an advanced cancer diagnosis, identified at a later stages leading to delayed treatment and therefore a poorer prognosis.
- Dr. Jeffrey Drebin, chair of the department of surgery at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, says even a month or two deferral substantially reduces a patient’s chance for curative options because of delays in surgery, chemotherapy or other treatments.
- In the words of John Carethers, chair of internal medicine at the University of Michigan, “We had a backlog of over 5,000 colonoscopies alone from the spring shutdown.”
- Dr. Norman Sharpless, director at the National Cancer Institute, predicted, “Lack of screenings and treatments could result in almost 10,000 excess deaths from breast and colorectal cancer in the next decade.”
In short, deferred healthcare has consequences.
Now imagine, a health plan or hospital has the ability to categorize its member or patient population and predict which patients are at the highest risk of deterioration or complications due to deferred care. A care manager can then prioritize and personalize the activation and engagement of those members, encouraging them to return to care whether that’s in-person or through a virtual visit.
Well, that’s precisely the methodology that’s described in our new health plan case study, Improving the Triple Aim With Next-Generation Identification, Stratification and Engagement. I encourage you to download the case study now to learn how our health plan client was able to improve the Triple Aim. Specifically, the plan realized:
- An estimated cost savings of more than $7,500 per member.
- $3 in health cost savings for every $1 in administrative cost spent.
- A 289 percent increase in member engagement.