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Welcome to SelectWell® Resource Page, where you can find numerous journals, scholarly articles and reference material

Rising Incidences and Cost of Chronic Disease Screams For Transformed Health Management

7 in 8 (88%) American adults are metabolically unhealthy and most are unaware of their status. Metabolically unhealthy is defined as having one of the following - blood sugar, waist circumference, blood pressure, cholesterol, or triglycerides - outside a defined healthy range. Poor metabolic health leaves people vulnerable to developing chronic conditions over a long period without warning signs leading to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other chronic conditions. In the U.S., 6 in 10 people have at least 1 chronic condition and 4 in 10 adults have multiple chronic conditions. More to the point, 37.3 million adults (about 1 in 10) live with Diabetes and, unfortunately, 20% of diabetics live undiagnosed. Worse, 96 million adults (more than 1 in 3) have prediabetes and more than 80% don’t know they have it.

Today’s health care is actually “sick care.” Patients only “enter” the system when they are diagnosed with a chronic disease (become sick). Then physicians engage and offer medications or procedures to help “manage” the problem. Major chronic diseases continue to grow catastrophically, generating vast populations of sick people who are less happy, less productive, and based on the current health care approach, eventually require expensive treatments and medications that employers are anxious to contain. 75% of healthcare expense is associated with 1/3 of employees dealing with chronic diseases.

The best way to deal with chronic disease is to prevent it, or find ways to slow its progression; even reverse it when possible. SelectWell® is here to transform health management and address chronic disease.

A New Approach: Our Health Care System Needs to Focus on Prevention
The Rising Incidence of Chronic Conditions Screams for the Need for a Whole-Person, Habit-Change Approach.

The question we should all be asking is, ‘knowing that we are facing a health care tsunami, and understanding costs will skyrocket further – what are we doing with this moment?

Diabetes, mental health conditions and musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders are far and away health care’s most prevalent problems. Each of these chronic diseases continues to grow catastrophically, generating vast populations of sick people who are less happy and less productive—and who require massively expensive treatments that employers and governments are anxious to contain. The growth of these chronic diseases has been on a steep and decades-long upward trend. The situation demands a new approach.

First, take a moment to consider the prevalence of these disorders, their associated costs and how serious the challenges are that our population is facing. Thirty seven million Americans (about 1 in 10) have diabetes, and 96 million American adults (more than 1 in 3) have prediabetes. Diabetes and diabetes-related health complications can be serious and costly. The seventh leading cause of death in the United States, diabetes costs an estimated $327 billion in medical costs and lost work and wages. In fact, people with diagnosed diabetes have more than twice the average medical costs that people without diabetes have.

The best way to deal with chronic disease is to prevent it—or, failing that, to work to find ways to slow its progression and reverse it when possible. Today’s health care system, unfortunately, isn’t built to do either. Our “health care” system is in most ways a “sick care” system. Patients are not part of the system until they’ve actually become sick, at which point physicians engage and offer medications or procedures to help ease the problems at that point if they can. The incentives are wrong in the system, and a key source of that problem is our fee-for-service payment model. That model remunerates physicians, hospitals and nursing homes for each service they provide patients instead of for keeping them healthy and bringing about a particular positive outcome if they do fall ill.

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How To Get Employees to Head Back to Their Primary Care Doctors
Four out of five workers DO NOT have a primary care provider.

A trip to the family physician has long been a part of traditional medical care in the U.S. Yet, many Americans are opting to rely more on emergency health resources, leaving themselves open to unfortunate health and financial outcomes. 

In a recent study by membership-based primary care practice One Medical, 89% of employees and 91% of HR said it's important to receive regular primary care, citing benefits like better health, increased productivity, and long-term healthcare savings. However, they found that only one in five workers have a primary care provider. Difficulty navigating the healthcare system (55%), figuring out cost (38%), and trouble making an appointment with a healthcare provider (33%) were the top reasons respondents gave for avoiding care.  

Even higher on the priority list, they said, is improving their employees' healthcare experience through care navigation solutions. This is where a combination of in-person, digital and virtual care options plays a strong role, as employees can access a preliminary level of care immediately and seek out additional levels of care if needed.  

With all the available health and wellness offerings available to employees, a primary care provider can represent a home base, says Dunsby. These relationships can also bolster the impact other virtual care models offer. "The primary care provider provides an intentional plan, they create the treatment plan," he says. "The digital solutions have been terrific at enhancing access and additional resources. But typically, they point back to the treating provider to confirm progress and to confirm the appropriateness of clinical treatment. So digital solutions without the relationship to a primary care provider is not best practice." 

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Reference Articles

Below you will find supporting articles to data and claims backed by scientific research, institutions, and peer review.


The rising incidence of chronic conditions screams for the need for a whole-person, habit-change approach.


Only one in five workers have a primary care provider.


When chronic conditions are not optimally managed, they can lead to more severe health issues like...


New research and drugs target ‘inflammaging’ in the fight against Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease.


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