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Helping Employee Reduce Risk of Diabetes

Helping Employees Reduce Risk of Diabetes

June 16, 2021
Using long-term lifestyle and health changes, Solera Health has helped employees improve health outcomes while decreasing ER visits and medical costs.

The number of people in the U.S who have diabetes, as reported by the CDC in 2020, was 34.2 million. That number is 10.5% of the population. 

Additionally, 73 million people are undiagnosed.

 The cost of the disease is approximately $327 billion annually in direct medical expenses and lost productivity.

To help address this issue diabetes prevention programs are being offered to employees.

One company, Solera Health, has enrolled over 100,000 people in the National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), through a network model which includes collaboration with Fitbit.

Given research has found that people with prediabetes who lost 5% of their body weight through healthier eating and 150 minutes of activity per week cut their risk of developing type 2 diabetes in half, Fitbit was an ideal partner.

Using the Fitbit platform, Solera’s Health model focuses on encouraging positive behavior changes, which include physical activity and weight loss. Based on an analysis of more than 1,700 people, conducted in 2017, who enrolled DPP through the Solera network, Solera found that participants who redeemed a Fitbit device were more active and lost more weight during the program than those who did not.

Other key findings from the analysis include:

  • At the one-year mark, DPP participants who redeemed a Fitbit device lost a larger percent of their starting weight than non-Fitbit participants (-3.38% vs -2.27%, p=0.013) and were much more likely to achieve the 5% weight loss milestone compared to those who did not (51% vs 36%, p=<0.001).
  • By weeks 10-16, DPP participants who redeemed a Fitbit device reported an extra 60 minutes of weekly activity compared to non-Fitbit participants and continued to report at least 45 minutes more weekly activity through the maintenance phase of the program in months 6-12.
  • Participants age 60-69 years old were more likely than any other age group included in the analysis to redeem a Fitbit device through the program, which is significant given that 61% of all healthcare costs attributed to diabetes care are for people over age 65.iv

EHS Today asked Mary Langowski, CEO of Solera Health, to provide further details about the program.

EHS: How does the DPP program work?

ML: Solera’s mission is to change lives by connecting people seamlessly and easily to health solutions that work. To do this, we have built a dynamic platform that tackles the costliest chronic conditions, like diabetes, by matching members and employees to their best-fit solutions based on their unique health goals, needs, and preferences through data and analytics. With the intent of creating long-term lifestyle and health changes, Solera has proven to have a significant impact on diabetes prevention, improving patient outcomes while decreasing ER visits and medical costs.

EHS: What is included in the program?

ML: The DPP is available through different programs. While each program differs, most include:

  •  In-person or online educational sessions about health, fitness, and diet.
  •  Support from a health coach
  • A Fitbit activity tracker to track exercise
  • A digital scale to help track weight (for online programs only)

EHS: How does the Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) help people become healthier?

ML: Beyond traditional clinical care provided by doctors and hospitals, we need to reach those with chronic diseases differently - through behavioral health. Many of these conditions can be treated through lifestyle changes, but most consumers are not aware of their options.  We increase availability and make these solutions accessible by partnering directly with insurance companies and employers to meet members where they are. 

Furthermore, we handle targeted frequent engagement campaigns with employees to actually get people to sign up and use the programs.  Solera’s DPP works with numerous providers who offer a range of learning styles, so employees have different options at their disposal since we know “one size fits all” does not always work to improve health outcomes.  This network of providers is constantly curated to ensure consumers are always getting the most innovative solutions that we know work the best.

EHS: How is the program beneficial to employees?

ML: Solera’s DPP simplifies the maze of options/innovations now available to the consumer. By creating the connectivity from community/digital to traditional system, Solera enables payers and employers to connect to what drives health status and bring consumers the ability to manage their health. Ultimately, building and delivering the solutions/services where they want it and how they want it.

About the Author

Adrienne Selko | Senior Editor

Email [email protected]


Adrienne Selko is also the senior editor at Material Handling and Logistics and is a former editor of IndustryWeek. 




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