Quest shares how its data insights improve employee health at the 18th Population Health Colloquium

Insights from population health programs are increasingly influential to the practice of healthcare and the management of patient health.  Analysis of trends in populations can identify gaps that, if corrected, can result in better outcomes or lower costs. While population health practices have traditionally been used for managed care, they also can be applied to all areas of healthcare, from employer wellness to precision medicine.

Recently, members of Quest Diagnostics as well as some of our collaborators participated in the 18th Population Health Colloquium in Philadelphia from March 19-21, 2018. The event brought together healthcare providers, health plans, pharmaceutical executives, leading technology and solutions companies, academia, and government to highlight advances in population health.

Quest’s Jay Wohlgemuth, MD, SVP and Chief Medical Officer, Research & Development, Medical and Employee Health, Steven Goldberg, MD, MBA, VP, Chief Health Officer, Health & Wellness, Maren Fragala, PhD, Director, HealthyQuest, and Wendi Mader, Director, Marketing and Strategy , Health & Wellness were on hand to present learnings from the company’s vast population health data through a Mini Summit titled: Personalized Medicine, Machine Learning, and Genomics: a Clinical Approach to Employer Population Health & Wellbeing.

Experts from Quest explored population health issues facing employers and ways to improve workforce wellness. Quest understands these issues well – the company is not only a large self-insured employer with more than 45,000 employees, it also provides the Blueprint for Wellness solution for other companies, encompassing biometric wellness screenings, and services that connect employees to the care they need and help intervene for health improvement.

Employers continue to confront annual increases in the cost of health benefits. High-cost conditions drive 30 percent of employer spend yet represent 1-2 percent of the employed population.[1] Employers who want to maintain an engaged, productive workforce need to implement highly targeted population health and personalized medicine strategies to drive optimal health care value.

In recent years, Quest has implemented new programs to help reduce costs and improve outcomes of its employees and their spouses and partners. These efforts are bearing fruit not only for Quest and its employees, but as novel wellness services Quest is offering to other employers.

Presentations included:

Workplace Screening as a Population Health Strategy to Identify and Engage High Cost Conditions, which demonstrated how Quest used biometric screening to identify employees at risk for chronic conditions such as chronic kidney disease and diabetes programs and implemented intervention programs such as a 16-week, CDC-developed Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), education, coaching and lifestyle modification services program  with Omada Health to result in a 4.5 percent loss of body weight and 38 percent three-year diabetes risk.

Similarity Analysis (Machine Learning) in Population Data to Provide Predictive Power in Patient-Centered Outcomes, discussed how population health screenings can reduce future morbidity and mortality when they identify an actionable disease or pre-diseased state in asymptomatic people. Quest’s Blueprint for Wellness program was given as an example of a program that helps patients identify risk and bring awareness, activate patients to make lifestyle changes and connect to care, and follows up to ensure future success. However, when this service is combined with artificial intelligence and machine learning, it can create customized reports that are even more meaningful to a specific patient based on his or her lifestyle, behaviors and awareness.

Population Based Precision Medicine: Delivering the Right Treatment for the Right Patient at the Right time – Across a Population, discussed how use of population data drives programs to connect individuals to the precision care they need including the right intervention, right cost, and right provider as well as how technologies such as telemedicine are transforming the care we can deliver to consumers in their communities

By using population health practices to proactively pre-empt early-stage health concerns and tackle chronic disease, Quest and other employers can mitigate the potential of avoidable employee absences, healthcare costs and other preventable events – offering greater results for employees and employers.

[1] American Health Policy Institute 2016. High Cost Claimants: Private vs. Public Sector Approaches.