Did you know that comprehensive eye exams can help re-engage patients into care for certain chronic conditions, with the potential to help improve health and reduce costs? Well the UnitedHealthcare just did a study that showed 57 percent of patients became re-engaged that had chronic conditions after receiving a comprehensive eye exam.
Eye care professionals are now encouraging people to go get a follow-up treatment from their primary care physicians and specialists, according to a new study by UnitedHealthcare. The Bridge2Health program has several key advantages over health and wellness programs offered by other major vision plans. Best of all, the program is offered at no additional cost!
Eye Exam Impacts on Re-engagement for Chronic Conditions demonstrates for the first time how eye care professionals can play a key role in helping re-engage patients with chronic conditions into care. This could help lost costs and prevention of major disease progression and or complications. The study also showed that 33 percent of previously unengaged patients, defined as lacking medical care for any chronic conditions over the previous 18 months, were also re-engaged into care within 60 days following an eye exam. Another 24 percent of patients were re-engaged after 60 days following an eye exam.
More than 2300 UnitedHealthcare plan participants were followed by this study. Since many people visit their eye car Dr. more than their primary care provider. the results are even more important. The study examined re-engagement rates for people with seven chronic conditions: Crohn’s disease, diabetes, Graves’ disease, high cholesterol, hypertension, multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis.
The new report builds on the findings of a previous UnitedHealthcare study, “Impact of Eye Exams in Identifying Chronic Conditions,” published in 2014. That study demonstrated how comprehensive eye exams can help eye-care doctors identify some chronic conditions – such as high cholesterol, hypertension, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and Graves’ disease – helping with early diagnosis so people can obtain appropriate treatment sooner and take steps to better manage their disease.
“The eyes are the only place on the body to offer a noninvasive view of the blood vessels, which means a comprehensive eye exam can reveal important information about a patient’s overall health, as well as their vision,” Dr. Chous added.
Employers are increasingly recognizing the role eye health plays in overall health, adopting integrated vision and medical benefits programs such as UnitedHealthcare’s Bridge2Health®, which supports patients and health care professionals with information, decisions and outcomes. Bridge2Health does the following:
- integrates medical and vision data to close gaps in care and and identify opportunities for interventions, including monitoring of 23 chronic conditions;
- identifies people with chronic conditions for eye care providers, and helps ensure that patients’ eyes be dilated during the exam to provide a better view of eye health and overall health;
- contacts plan participants by phone with eye exam reminders for people with chronic conditions who have not had an exam; and
- refers people with diabetes to disease management programs that may save more than $1,800 per patient per year, according to the 2014 UnitedHealthcare study.
More than 170 companies representing 5.3 million plan participants have already selected Bridge2Health’s integrated approach for vision benefits to help create healthier employees, lower health care costs and increase productivity. With wellness as a core value for many companies, programs such as UnitedHealthcare’s Bridge2Health provide employees with the most advanced programs and resources that encourage a healthier workforce.