A recent survey of benefits decision-makers at self-funded companies conducted by Opinion Research Corp. found that 67 percent of respondents believe “their employees with diabetes find everyday management of their condition ‘feels like a second full-time job.’” When thinking about diabetes as a population health problem, we can easily forget the day-by-day and hour-by-hour energy put into care management by those who have the condition. Simplifying care is important. In fact, 90 percent of survey respondents thought their employees with diabetes would feel more empowered at work if the company provided a program to help simplify everyday diabetes management. However, a program relying entirely on remote health coaches, nurses, or existing providers cannot support members through all the daily decision points that can greatly affect blood sugar levels and insulin responses, and in turn, the overall quality of life for each member managing diabetes.
Such a program needs to be able to deliver high-quality care seamlessly and at scale, but also in a way that recognizes the unique needs of individual members. Personalized, AI-driven care can help power such a solution. Lark for Diabetes is the only diabetes management program that has demonstrated the ability to do so for employers. In a recent study, Lark’s Diabetes Management Program users reported a significant reduction in A1c levels of 1.1 points, from 8.5 to 7.4 percent. A reduction of 1 point in A1c has been shown to reduce the rate of diabetes-related complications by 28 percent in commercially-insured populations. While outcomes are critical in considering any program, it’s also important to consider satisfaction – members reported an average satisfaction score of over 9/10, which is truly stunning for a health program. What’s more, members engaged in an average of more than 42 Lark coaching sessions per month – rates of day-by-day and hour-by-hour engagement that simply cannot be achieved with remote health coaches.
Cost can be a major barrier for employers to implement new programs. The fact that technological solutions can be powered through users’ smartphones means they can be offered at highly affordable rates, also addressing the economic dimension of scalability of diabetes intervention programs. Lark gives members everything they need to get started right away, including a connected glucose meter so that program recommendations are informed by real-time blood sugar data. AI-augmentation means that members receive tailored feedback that only gets more knowledgeable about their behaviors and tendencies over time.
AI health coaching can also help prevent diabetes. 1 in 3 working-age Americans has prediabetes, putting them at greater risk for developing the disease. If employers can offer a highly personalized health coaching solution that helps prevent these individuals from developing diabetes in the first place, it has been proven that significant savings can be generated while dramatically improving employee well-being. In fact, a recent Swedish study makes the case for workplace intervention programs after researchers found that employees in certain occupations are at a three-times higher risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those in other jobs.
Diabetes will always involve daily care and management, but new innovations can help ease the burden on members working to manage their condition throughout their already busy lives. Employers searching for ways to support their employees with diabetes should consider Lark’s cost-effective, scalable, and highly personalized option.
In the same recent survey of benefits decision makers, 89 percent of benefits leaders at self-funded employers agreed that “a company supported program that would support employees with diabetes could lead to higher quality of life and reduced sick time and related expense”; with such conviction already in place, let’s get to work.