Improving Adherence for Diabetes Populations
How payers and providers can lower costs and improve outcomes through better care plan adherence for members with type 1, type 2, or gestational diabetes
November 17, 2020

Impacting 34.2 million individuals, 10% of the population, in the U.S. each year, diabetes costs $327 billion in medical and associated costs annually. This month is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and we’re breaking down the impact type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes have had nationwide and what Wellth is doing to address it.

Targeting Vulnerable Populations

While diabetes impacts individuals of all racial, ethnic, and economic backgrounds, rates of diabetes are higher in vulnerable communities. 

In low income communities, lack of proper nutrition often leads to elevated risk of type 2 diabetes. In these neighborhoods with high rates of poverty, access to fresh foods is limited—and fresh foods often end up being too far to walk or access with public transportation. 

These “food deserts” offer cheap calories without access to the expensive nutrients individuals need—raising rates of type 2 diabetes. In fact, long-term studies show that when individuals in low-income communities are able to relocate to better neighborhoods, those individuals saw an average 26% reduction in HbA1c levels. 

In addition, communities of color are also disproportionately impacted by diabetes. While the rate of diabetes for non-Hispanic whites is 7.5%, for racial/ethnic communities, those rates are higher—specifically impacting:

  • 9.2% of Asian Americans
  • 12.5% of Hispanics
  • 11.7% of non-Hispanic blacks
  • 14.7% of American Indians/Alaskan Natives 

Successfully managing diabetes populations requires solutions tailored to address members with vulnerabilities. Wellth works largely with vulnerable Medicaid and Medicare populations to help them overcome the conditions contributing to low care plan adherence through principles of behavioral economics. 

Diabetes, at a Glance

Type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes all pose unique challenges to the individuals facing those conditions and the payers supporting them.

For an in-depth look into gestational diabetes, check out our recent article: Managing Gestational Diabetes Through Better Care Plan Adherence.

The Wellth Solution

Wellth offers programs to encourage members to adhere to their care plan. Whether that’s medication adherence for Medicaid populations, glucometer readings for Medicare populations, or healthy eating habits, Wellth uses the proven principles of behavioral economics to form long-lasting healthy habits in even the most vulnerable member populations.

Mt. Sinai Peak Health, a full-risk outpatient clinic in New York, used Wellth’s program to encourage medication adherence and blood sugar monitoring for its Medicaid-eligible type 2 diabetes patient population. Patients enrolled in the Wellth cohort had a high HbA1c level before the program and were not adherent to care plans, leading to poor health outcomes. 

By the end of the 70-day pilot, not only had HbA1c dropped by 0.5 points, but average medication adherence was 85% and average weight loss was 3.7 lbs.

To learn more about Wellth’s diabetes solutions, check out the full Mt. Sinai case study