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Research Indicates Participants in Incentive-Based Health Promotion Programs Have Lower Healthcare Costs
Date:1/20/2010

prop5;s.prop15='82152792';s.tl(this,'o','ExternalLink');" target='_blank' href="http://thevitalitygroup.com/board_of_directors">Arthur C. Carlos, CEO of The Vitality Group. "Incentive-based wellness programs are designed to change behaviors and improve the health of their members. By improving health in a sustainable way, it is possible to reduce costs over the long-term."

The findings: hospital cost savings and shorter stays

Engagement in an incentive-based wellness program was associated with lower healthcare costs. For those members who were admitted to a hospital, the length of stay and frequency of admission was significantly less for participants who were active in fitness-related activities.

The adult insured members were grouped based on registration and the level of engagement in the Vitality health promotion program: not registered (37.5 percent), registered but not active in any health promotion activity (21.9 percent), low engagement (30.9 percent) and high engagement (9.5 percent). Most activities (i.e. fitness-related, assessment and screening, healthy choices and health knowledge) and outcomes were validated. Hospitalization costs were analyzed per member in the various groups and the research indicates that not only were costs per member decreased based on activity level, but the same pattern was demonstrated for admission rates.

The study was led by Deepak N. Patel, MD, Mmed, University of Cape Town and senior clinical specialist, Discovery Health, and Estelle V. Lambert, PhD, UCT/MRC Research Unit for Exercise Science and Sports Medicine, Department of Human Biology, UCT School of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town.

"The rise in incidence of chronic disease and associated healthcare costs is unsustainable," said Dr. Patel. "As researchers, it
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SOURCE The Vitality Group
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