How an Innovative, Behavioral Science Approach Increases Patient Engagement, Improves Health, and Reduces Diabetes Cost Trend

Managing the Burden of Diabetes
Among Employers and Employees

Given the unrelenting obesity epidemic, diabetes will continue as one of the most prevalent and disabling chronic conditions in America.  Like many other chronic diseases, diabetes has a major impact on productivity, disability, and health care costs.  Unfortunately, diabetes cannot be cured or managed by pharmaceuticals alone.  Effective diabetes management requires the active engagement and participation of the patient with their doctor.  The American Diabetes Association (ADA) has specified a clear set of evidence-based care standards that all patients with diabetes should follow annually.  Unfortunately, despite these proven effective care guidelines, most people with diabetes have very low adherence to recommended standards of care (i.e. “gaps in care”) as well as low rates of compliance with regular blood glucose testing and recommended medication use


National Diabetes Statistics

Non-Adherent with
Care Standards
with Medication Regimen
Have other
Chronic Conditions
Claims Attributed to
Members with Diabetes

Proving the hypotheses
a compared controlled study of effectiveness

Scientific Validation

Abacus Health Solutions conducted a comparative controlled study of the Program’s effectiveness. A retrospective, pre-post-comparative study was conducted using propensity score matching to compare utilization and cost data between individuals enrolled versus a matched group of individuals eligible but not enrolled in the Program from 2010 to 2017.


A cohort of 3,318 members was identified; 1,659 of which were enrolled in the Program and the control cohort consisted of another 1,659 individuals that were eligible for the program but did not enroll and were matched on several demographic and health status and health risk variables, like age, gender, location and insulin use, as well as, the Elixhauser Comorbidity Index (a measure of a person’s risk of hospital admission calculated based on the presence or absence of a set of chronic medical conditions) helped ensure we were comparing members who had similar health risks and illness severity prior to program implementation.

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The Results

Clinical MeasurementHbA1c Reduction

21% Decrease in members with HbA1c >9

Service UtilizationPhysician vs Hospital Visits

54% Increase in physician visits
40% Decrease in hospital admits
44% Decrease in hospital days

Increase TestingClosing Gaps in Care

54% Increase in HbA1c testing
9% Increase in Lipid testing
37% Increase in Albumin testing

Decrease in Medical Spending PMPMParticipants vs Non Participants

$1,395.60 Decrease in PMPY medical spending

High Cost Claims AvoidanceGreater Than $200,000 per claim

$16 Million savings in participants vs non participants 

Abacus Scientifically Validates Diabetes Care Program Results

Using over a decade’s worth of program data, Abacus has scientifically proven the effectiveness of the Diabetes Care Rewards Program including nearly a $1,400 annual medical claim savings.