Musculoskeletal health is a major concern for employee benefits managers, and for a good reason. A staggering 126.6 million Americans (that’s about half of us) are living with some kind of musculoskeletal disorder. Musculoskeletal condition prevalence is roughly the same as cardiovascular and chronic respiratory conditions combined. It’s a hot topic for the employee benefits industry, which supplies roughly half of Americans with their health insurance.
Artemis Health helps self-insured employers explore their benefits data and find ways to improve employee health and well-being. In an upcoming research study conducted by Employee Benefit News, Artemis found that benefits teams and their organizations are all aligned on “employee health and well-being” as their top goal for 2021. They want to help employees access quality doctors, convenient physical therapy, and wellness support to treat musculoskeletal conditions in the best way possible. We decided to dive deep into the data on musculoskeletal conditions and find out what the data tells us in a sample employee population. Let’s take a look at what we learned using the Artemis Platform.
First, we looked at some executive overview metrics of musculoskeletal conditions in this sample population of 40,000 employees and their families. You can see that roughly 9,000 people in this group have been treated for musculoskeletal conditions, which is closer to 25% of our population. That’s good news for the employer; their musculoskeletal condition prevalence is lower than that of the U.S. population. It accounts for about 13% of their annual benefits spending and about 15% of their total number of medical claims.
The Artemis Platform makes it easy to look at the diagnoses for these claims, too. You can see that while osteoarthritis is the most expensive condition for these sample members, by far the most common diagnosis is for low back pain. Nearly 1,500 members are suffering with low back pain in this population. Other top conditions include neck pain, knee pain, and shoulder pain. These conditions can be associated with overuse, sports injuries, and sedentary lifestyles.
Benefits managers may also want to look at providers and office locations to get a sense for how members are seeking care. The Artemis Platform provides a clear view of metrics and breakdowns like this.
Here, we’ve zeroed in on low back pain and added charts to find out top providers for this conditions and office locations. In our sample “Headquarters” office, low back pain is far more prevalent than in other offices. Depending on the number of people working there, this might indicate a larger problem for the benefits manager, or it might simply reflect the distribution of employees around the country. Additionally, we can see that one provider is treating 153 members for low back pain. A benefits team may want to evaluate this physician or health system for quality and costs.
We can also track what percentage of members have sought physical therapy for their musculoskeletal condition. In this chart, we’re looking at what percentage of members with low back pain are participating in physical therapy. Our sample population shows 27% of members are using physical therapy for their low back pain. Now let’s look at another common treatment for low back pain: opioids.
74% of low back pain sufferers in this population are taking opioids to help them cope. This may raise questions around potential addictive behaviors, although many of these patients may be treated appropriately.
Benefits data is truly key in exploring the ins and outs of member health, and you’ve seen how we explored musculoskeletal conditions using the Artemis Platform. These data insights clearly indicated a few actions that benefits teams can take:
Is your benefits data helping you evaluate the musculoskeletal health and well-being of your employee population? A data analytics solution can help identify problems, measure the impact, and take action to create a healthier workforce.