By Byron Crowe, MD, chief medical officer, Solera Health.
Chronic disease remains a leading cause of disability and death in America. With 40% of adults experiencing two or more chronic conditions, the clinical and financial burden of these conditions are widespread and accounts for reduced life expectancy and $4.1 trillion in annual health care costs.
Hypertension in particular is a widespread public health concern given its clear linkage with cardiovascular and kidney disease. The CDC estimates that nearly half of U.S. adults – 116 million people – have hypertension, contributing to hundreds of thousands of avoidable deaths from cardiovascular disease each year.
The cost of hypertension for employers and employees
Employers can expect to have large numbers of individuals with hypertension, with some portion experiencing major complications such as heart attacks and strokes every year. In addition to the human toll taken by uncontrolled blood pressure, hypertension-related employee absenteeism costs employers roughly $10.3 billion annually. Not only are employees with high blood pressure four times more likely to die from a stroke, but it puts them at significant risk for developing cardiovascular diseases, leading to $1,100 in lost productivity annually.
When an employee suffers from hypertension, the medical costs are up to $2,500 higher annually than those who do not. Additionally, about $29 billion is spent yearly on blood pressure prescriptions, including $3.4 billion in out-of-pocket spending. Managing conditions like hypertension can be costly and extremely difficult – especially in conjunction with intersectional diseases and symptoms.
But the time and money spent by each party do not have to be significant. By driving sustainable lifestyle modifications, ensuring medication adherence, and offering accessible and continuous care, digital solutions can help address gaps in hypertension care by meeting the diverse needs of both employers and employees.