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HealthMedia and Aetna to Study Online Insomnia and Depression Interventions

Controlled Trial Conducted with Pilot Programs

ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 19 /PRNewswire/ -- HealthMedia, Inc., the global leader in scalable behavior change interventions with outcomes, announced a new research study with Aetna which will provide HealthMedia's Overcoming(TM) Insomnia and Overcoming(TM) Depression online behavior change interventions to at least 400,000 eligible employees of Aetna's large employer members. Together, HealthMedia and Aetna will conduct a controlled trial to study the effectiveness of the online interventions in improving workplace productivity and reducing healthcare costs. This study will be part of a larger Aetna initiative focusing on driving behavior change across all conditions.

"We recognize that depression and insomnia are both problems that are major drivers of healthcare costs, employee productivity and the overall health and happiness of our members," said Michael Golinkoff, PhD, Aetna National Clinical Director. "We are very optimistic that these two HealthMedia programs can add tremendous value and augment the current treatment offerings for our members."

In fact research has shown that:

-- Depression is associated with 27.2 annual lost workdays per worker

-- Workers with depression reported significantly more total

health-related lost productive time than those without depression

(5.6 hrs/week vs. 1.5 hrs/week)

-- Those with severe insomnia miss work twice as often as good sleepers

-- The annual cost for absenteeism per worker with insomnia is $4,800

Aetna plans to utilize an integrated database to identify participants for the two programs. For the insomnia program, Aetna will identify members who are chronic users of prescription sleep medications. For the depression program, participants will include members who are not responding well to their current treatment programs.

With implementation set to begin in the second quarter of 2008, the pilot programs will be studied in a controlled trial that will examine three important areas. First, the trial will study the value of intelligent recruitment, by using highly-tailored communications to recruit participants into the two programs. In addition, these highly-tailored communications will continue throughout the interventions to help motivate members' ongoing participation.

"One of the key differentiators in successful wellness, disease management, and behavioral health programs is the ability to connect with users meaningfully to encourage continued positive change," said Ted Dacko, HealthMedia President and CEO. "Participation is among our top project priorities because no matter how well an intervention works, if we can't draw the participants, we won't ultimately be successful."

Second, the trial will study the impact of the two programs on costs and effectiveness, compared to current treatments. The depression program will study the impact of Web-based services on treatment outcomes. The insomnia program will study the impact on prescription medication utilization. According to one study, Americans filled more than 35 million prescriptions for sleeping pills in 2004, spending $2.1 billion. Studies predict these costs to double by the end of the decade. Golinkoff confirmed that Aetna's prescription insomnia medication costs have been steadily increasing as well, and is looking to the HealthMedia program to see if a Web-based based, cognitive behavior change program can decrease member reliance on sleep medications.

Beyond the costs, medications are not a long-term solution for insomniacs. The National Institutes of Health, the New England Journal of Medicine and other prominent medical organizations recommend behavioral therapy as the best and most effective treatment for insomnia.

Finally, the trial will study the general value of utilizing Web-based behavior change programs to treat both insomnia and depression.

About Aetna

Aetna is one of the nation's leading diversified health care benefits companies, serving approximately 36.7 million people with information and resources to help them make better informed decisions about their health care. Aetna offers a broad range of traditional and consumer-directed health insurance products and related services, including medical, pharmacy, dental, behavioral health, group life and disability plans, and medical management capabilities and health care management services for Medicaid plans. Our customers include employer groups, individuals, college students, part-time and hourly workers, health plans, governmental units, government-sponsored plans, labor groups and expatriates.

About HealthMedia, Inc.

HealthMedia, Inc. is the global leader in scalable behavior change interventions with outcomes. HealthMedia's proven outcomes increase compliance, reduce medical utilization, and increase productivity -- boosting profitability for health plans, employers, pharmaceutical companies, and behavioral health organizations. A fusion of their own unique technology and proven behavioral science, HealthMedia delivers individually tailored behavior change interventions for health and wellness, disease management, behavioral health, and medication compliance. Clients include Kaiser Permanente, UPS, Cleveland Clinic, Johnson & Johnson, GSK, and eight Blue Cross Blue Shield organizations across the United States. HealthMedia partners include APS Healthcare, Corphealth, Health Dialog, Wellsource, and SHPS. For more information visit
Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link. Richard Bedrosian, PhD

Ted Dacko SOURCE HealthMedia, Inc. Web site:

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