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Let’s Talk Numbers: Why Diabetes Care Is Essential to a Well-Rounded Benefits Portfolio

Published
July 2021

The numbers of diabetes are often overwhelming. Diabetes now accounts for 1 in every 4 healthcare dollars spent in the United States. That adds up to $237 billion in direct medical costs, and another $90 billion related to reduced productivity.1

“It’s quite a challenging disease to manage,” says Reed Campbell, product manager at Roche Diabetes Care. “Up to 40% of employees with diabetes keep their disease hidden from bosses or coworkers.2 That’s an indicator we need to be making our workspaces more inclusive.”

Engaged remote care can provide the necessary support to improve the lives of people with diabetes — as well as reduce healthcare costs for employers.

Understanding how to measure patient success - keys for diabetes patient education

Blood sugar is the primary measurement for people with diabetes. But there are actually a few different ways to look at it.

“Measuring blood sugar with a meter provides an immediate reading,” says Scott Johnson, patient success manager at Roche Diabetes Care. “Some people with diabetes also use sensor technology or continuous glucose monitor devices. Then there’s HbA1c. It’s the result from a test done in a lab or doctor’s office that measures the average blood sugar over the past 10 to 12 weeks.”

It’s important to track all those values to look for patterns that should be addressed. While blood sugar is the main focus, there are other numbers to think about, too — including nutrition or activity goals, medication doses and more.

 
The rise of virtual care in diabetes health programs

One positive outcome through the pandemic was the accelerated uptake of tele health, digital health and remote diabetes monitoring programs.

“Among patients with chronic illnesses like diabetes, the number who have participated in at least one telehealth visit increased by 77% since COVID-19,” says Campbell. “And 53% of those patients say telemedicine provides the same or even better quality of care compared to in-person doctor visits.3

“As someone living with diabetes myself, I found the quality of care just the same,” says Johnson. “My endocrinologist had all my blood sugar readings. Apart from going in for a blood draw, I didn’t have to take extra time off work, drive anywhere or sit in a waiting room. So there were a lot of pros from my perspective.”

As this at-home chapter of COVID starts to wane, there will be a lot of adaptation. In addition to new office regulations or childcare requirements, employers have to manage diabetes in the workplace in new ways.

“It’s easy to see diabetes management fall by the wayside in these types of transitions,” says Campbell. “Employer solutions like RocheDiabetes Health Connection can offer value at home, in the office or in a hybrid scenario.”

Best practices for employer-sponsored diabetes care

When supporting employees with diabetes through this new transition phase, here are three key points of focus:

Diabetes is personal

  • Individualized care is important
  • A single solution won’t work for everyone
  • Needs to be adaptable

Support

  • Normalize checking blood sugar at the workplace
  • Install sharps containers
  • Provide coaching to simplify diabetes management

Communication

  • Emphasize listening
  • Employees should be free to share their concerns
  • Everyone benefits from feeling like part of a community
Spurring engagement and outcomes through diabetes education and coaching

Whether at home or in the office, engagement is a big factor in the success of any diabetes self-management program.

"One crucial pillar for RocheDiabetes Health Connection is mySugr,” says Johnson. “It's a free smartphone app that wirelessly connects to blood glucose meters to automatically log and track the results of testing data. But automatic logging is just one part of mySugr. What’s really important is how it also provides real human support.”

Once enrolled in RocheDiabetes Health Connection, mySugr pairs employees with diabetes with a mySugr coach — a certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist. Their diabetes health coach provides 1-on-1 support and helps them set and achieve health-related goals.

“To test a new approach to engagement, we launched a series of guided challenges,” says Johnson. “Users were invited via in-app messages and email to participate in multi-week challenges focused on a specific aspect of diabetes and health management.”

The first was called the Winter Challenge. It launched around the holidays, a tough time for many people with diabetes. The challenge included four weeks of education on diabetes remote monitoring, nutrition, activity and emotional health. Each week, participants viewed a short video on these topics based on guidance from the Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists. Then they were given a weekly assignment.

“Participants increased their blood glucose logs by 52% during the challenge. A post-challenge survey revealed even more encouraging results: 80% rated their confidence in diabetes management as a 4 out of 5 — and half say they even adopted a new healthy habit along the way.4

Diabetes health coach-guided support can lead to lasting health benefits for people with diabetes, improved logging and therapy engagement, as well as retention for challenge participants. So what does this mean for employers?

“These challenges were our ‘a-ha’ moment,” says Campbell. “Through getting people with diabetes to engage with our program and app, we saw sustained improvement even six months afterwards. That can add up to a lasting impact when it comes to healthcare costs.”

What sets our diabetes management program apart

There are certainly other options out there for managing diabetes. So what differentiates RocheDiabetes Health Connection?

Only pay for active members

  • Pay per active member per month model
  • Don’t pay for people not using the program
  • Criteria for active members established upfront

Coaching

  • No automation or chatbots
  • Accredited by Association of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists
  • Specifically trained to help people manage diabetes

A trusted name

  • 40+ years working with people with diabetes
  • Customers know and use Accu-Chek® products
See the difference for yourself

To learn more about RocheDiabetes Health Connection, schedule your free 15-minute demonstration today. And see how a personalized approach can help your employees and your bottom line.

1American Diabetes Association. (2017) “The Cost of Diabetes.” https://wwwdiabetes.org/resources/statistics/cost-diabetes

2Opinion Research Corporation survey December 2019 commissioned by Roche Diabetes Care.

3Doximity. (2020, September) “2020 State of Telemedicine Report.” https://c8y.doxcdn.com/image/upload/Press%20Blog/Research%20Reports/2020... 4Opinion Research Corporation survey July 2019 commissioned by Roche Diabetes Care.

4“Rising to the Challenge of Better Diabetes Health: The Role of Coaching in Daily Management.” RocheDiabetes Health Connection, Roche, https://www.rochediabeteshealthconnection.com/sites/g/files/iut1206/f/microsites/health-connection/pdf/coaching_and_diabetes_white_paper_-_rochediabetes.pdf