Bending the Curve: MSK Costs

What does a company that prides itself on rewarding its diverse and talented workforce with an array of benefits do when they see musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions accounting for nearly 15% of their healthcare spend? They add a new expert medical opinion solution that resulted in saving millions of dollars and improving the health of their employees.

A multinational technology company with a diverse and talented workforce provided nearly every benefit to its employees. Along with medical, dental and vision coverage, employees had  access to everything from tuition support and continued training to daycare and health spending accounts. But musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions were still a major healthcare concern, accounting for more than 15% of their total medical spend. For the previous two years, the firm’s MSK spend had been trending upward, approaching $60 per member per month.

The firm implemented 2nd.MD for all U.S. employees covered by the healthcare plan with the goal of reducing MSK-related procedures and expenditures, including reducing the number of missed work days and recovery days needed after surgery. 

The employer used a multi-pronged member-centric program that made sure employees who were likely candidates for an MSK-procedure knew about the option of having an expert medical opinion. This included:

  • Targeted communications 
  • Proactive outreach to those identified with 2nd.MD’s predictive analytics algorithm as likely to schedule an MSK related surgery
  • Training the employer’s clinical nursing teams and HR professionals for an easy referral process

The employer realized significant savings including a 6 percent overall reduction in spend and 

$3,700,000 cost savings. There were also a number of clinical impacts, including members who cancelled surgeries, received an alternate diagnosis after an expert medical opinion, and had fewer recovery days when they did proceed with surgery.

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