Enabling Better Health for an Aging Workforce
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, one of every four workers will be 55 or older by 2024, with people 65 to 74 years old and 75 and older the fastest-growing age groups in the workplace.
Recognizing these trends, MyMatrixx, an Express Scripts company, recently investigated the health care impact of an aging workforce on employers and plan sponsors.
The myMatrixx study found many workers are choosing to continue working past the Social Security retirement age, which is currently 66 years and two months. Reasons include factors like holding advanced degrees, an overall increase in health and medical care, and wanting to fully realize their economic goals to account for a longer life expectancy.
The study found the most common medical issues among older workers were cardiovascular diseases including hypertension, thyroid diseases, and pain due to arthritis and osteoporosis. Comorbidities were common, requiring coordination of care across a patient’s health care team.
Preparing for the Boom
As plan sponsors prepare for an increasingly older workforce, it’s important to keep their members as healthy as possible, especially people with chronic conditions.
Medication adherence is key to managing the progression of chronic diseases. Simply by taking their medicines as directed, patients may require fewer emergency room visits, hospitalizations, and extra medical tests. For example, according to a recent Express Scripts study, patients with diabetes who are adherent to their treatment have 20% fewer emergency department visits than expected and 18% fewer hospitalizations. Effectively managing a disease also reduces the risk for diagnosis of additional chronic conditions. Most importantly, adherent patients have better health outcomes which lowers total cost of care.
ScreenRx® leverages machine learning algorithms to uncover more than 300 features about patients, physicians, diseases, and prescribed therapies to identify patients most likely to stop taking their medications. The program marries this intelligence with proactive action to determine each person’s personal barriers to taking their medication and provides tailored interventions.
Through ScreenRx, Express Scripts has helped patients manage the conditions most common in an aging workforce, including osteoporosis and hypertension.
A Healthy Dose of Prevention
While trends around our aging workforce drive attention toward disease management, the best way to keep an entire workforce healthy is through prevention.
Health Connect 360SM is a clinical management model designed to keep healthy people healthy while enabling people living with chronic conditions to receive personalized clinical care support customized for their unique situation.
Health Connect 360 continuously evaluates the holistic health care experience to identify any gaps in care. Express Scripts’ Population Health Managers use this information to develop personalized care plans combining high-touch clinical expertise and actionable data insights for each individual. This connects care by integrating data across the health care spectrum – patient, physician, pharmacy, lab and plan sponsor to make sure no patient falls through the cracks.
As the workforce ages, having the right programs in place helps plan sponsors proactively manage health care costs while ensuring a healthier employee population through preventative clinical support.