WEA Trust’s Low Back Pain Study Demonstrates Kiio’s Success in Lowering Costs and Improving Outcomes


WEA Trust Case Study
WEA Trust Case Study

Kiio’s digital therapeutic dramatically cut medical costs by reducing utilization of Emergency & Urgent Care, aggressive treatments & diagnostics, and prescription medication.

Madison, Wis. (March 26, 2019) – WEA Trust and Kiio released the results of a two-year claims data analysis evaluating the impact of Kiio’s digital therapeutic on medical utilization and cost of care for low back pain. WEA Trust began offering Kiio’s digital therapeutic to its public sector employee members in 2018.

Read about the significant improvements experienced by Kiio participants.

Kiio featured in Wisconsin State Journal’s “Highlighting Innovation” series


kiio helps people get back to activities

Kiio is proud to be part of the vibrant Madison entrepreneurial community. In the Wisconsin State Journal’s “Imagine: Highlighting Innovation” feature Changing the Paradigm for Musculoskeletal Care, VP of Product Strategy Lydia Zeller talks about the motivation behind Kiio’s leadership in innovating digital solutions that expand beyond traditional care delivery models, empowering patients, employers, health plans, and providers.

Four of many journeys from unrelenting back pain to health:

— A young mother finally moves past “survival mode” with a program, tailored to her type of pain, that she can do at home.

— A man still suffering after multiple spinal injections and a spine surgery achieves 75 percent pain reduction in less than three months.

— A busy executive taking pain medication every three hours and struggling to walk around the block is able to take a dream hiking trip.

— And a 78-year-old woman performs her program every morning because it relieves her pain and enables her to enjoy her passion for sewing again.

These are the stories that make our work so meaningful.

At Kiio, our mission is to help people with musculoskeletal pain get back to the activities they love. We do this by combining evidence-based medicine, artificial intelligence and interactive coaching to deliver appropriate care on your mobile device.

Kiio is individualized to you, 24/7 convenient, flexible and proven effective. We integrate with traditional care to get you the right level of care, at the right time.

Our first program targets low back pain. And that’s a big deal. Back pain is the leading cause of opioid prescriptions, the leading reason for disability and missed work days, and a top medical cost driver.

Kiio is achieving outstanding clinical and financial results for our partners. Kiio program participants benefit from pain reduction, personal empowerment, and significant reduction in the use of opioids and aggressive treatments. Our customer partners – health plans, employers and other at-risk entities – benefit from healthier, happier people at much lower cost.

As vice president of product strategy, I strongly believe that each of us has the opportunity to lead change or sit still and wait. What motivates me every day is that at Kiio, we are creating digital technology on the vanguard of change.

Health care lags significantly in acknowledging and embracing the consumer expectations and technological advancements that have transformed so many other industries. Despite understanding “patient-centricity” in terms of care, health care is slow to implement the “consumer-centricity” in immediacy, convenience, personalization and value that we’ve come to expect in every other facet of our lives.

The shift from fee-for-service to payment-for-value is long overdue. Some traditional providers are not highly motivated to embrace this change, with the result that those who foot the bill – be it the self-funded employer, the health plan or another at-risk entity – are more and more the ones championing and demanding innovation.

As a young company that undertook a self-reinvention, we understand the costs and benefits of pivoting to better align with market realities. The transition can be painful, but if you retain your essence and better deploy your core competencies, the opportunity is powerful. There is tremendous opportunity for win-win-win in health care.

We are grateful for and proud of our grounding in the Madison community. Our angel and early funding was local, including DaneVest, Phenomenelle Angels and Wisconsin Investment Partners. We have benefited from the tax credits and economic development loans offered by WEDC. We have also benefited from the talent nurtured by UW-Madison; in turn, we have offered internships and grown interns into fantastic full-time employees.

Our first health plan partners – Quartz Health Solutions, WEA Trust and GHC – were local. We likewise started locally when we began offering Kiio direct-to-employer, and from there landed our first Fortune 50 partner.

Together forward! We can make a difference.

Read the full feature series in the Wisconsin State Journal

Kiio and Quartz Health Solutions’ Low Back Pain Study Demonstrates the Success of Digital Therapeutic in Lowering Costs and Improving Outcomes


Program Dramatically Cut Medical Spending; Reduced Utilization of ED, Urgent Care, Aggressive Treatment and Diagnostics; and Decreased Fills for Opioid Prescriptions

 

Madison, Wis. (September 10, 2018) – Today, Kiio and Quartz Health Solutions unveiled the results of a one-year study to evaluate the impact of Kiio’s digital program on the challenges presented by low back pain. Low back pain affects one in three American adults every year and costs the U.S. over $100 billion annually. The study demonstrates success improving the lives of patients living with chronic pain while reducing medical spend and the danger of opioids. Quartz offered Kiio to plan members with a history of low back pain. Read about the significant improvements experienced by Kiio participants.

Kiio to present at Pittsburgh Business Group on Health Sept. 6


Low back pain is the number one cause of opioid prescriptions and a leading driver of employment costs.

This is especially relevant given the increasing threat opioids have had on our communities in recent years.

Kiio CEO Dave Grandin and VP Product Strategy Lydia Zeller will present Kiio’s digital solution for back pain Sept. 6th at Pittsburgh Business Group on Health’s 2018 Symposium, Accelerate the New Era of Healthcare.

Dave and Lydia will share details on how Kiio is delivering a 24/7, consumer-centric solution proven to improve health and empower individuals, while reducing use of opioids and aggressive medical treatments. The presentation will include Kiio’s clinical and financial outcomes.

To register for the event, to be held at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center, click here.

Digital Solutions for Healthcare’s Major Cost Drivers to be Presented July 31


Kiio, Livongo, Mercer and Blue Cross Blue Shield Massachusetts speak candidly about how digital therapeutics are positively impacting health while averting lost productivity, disability, unnecessary medical costs and even opioid addiction

Boston, Mass (July 24, 2018) – Chronic conditions such as low back pain and diabetes are major drivers of medical and employment costs for employers and health plans. Kiio CEO David Grandin will be presenting at the Annual National Employee Health & Well Being Summit on how digital therapeutics are helping to treat these prevalent and costly medical concerns. For example, Kiio for Low Back Pain is shown to reduce pain, the reliance on opioids, and overall medical spending. Click here to read more about this upcoming panel and the latest news on digital therapies.

Breaking Health Podcast Features Dave Grandin, Kiio President and CEO as Digital Health Innovator


Dave Grandin, President and CEO of Kiio, is featured in Breaking Health’s podcast to discusses the company’s work helping payers and employers better manage individuals with low back pain.  He discusses Kiio’s unique focus on optimizing care pathways around low back pain and the science behind better engaging people to partner in improving their own health.

“Our goal is to engage people in care that is individualized, personal, convenient, and effective… while also scalable and high-value for the payer and employer.”

– Dave Grandin, CEO, Kiio

 

To listen to the full episode click here.

How This Startup Is Helping Improve Physical Therapy Outcomes


Often times when patients are
going through physical therapy,
they are simply given pieces of paper with a list of activities to do at home. Fortunately, Madison, Wisconsin-based Kiio has improved this process by developing a technology platform that changes the way care is provided to patients. Kiio says that it empowers healthcare payers and providers to improve outcomes, reduce costs and increase revenue.

To read the entire article, click here.

Fitchburg startup Kiio to help ease back pain for those insured through WEA Trust


Fitchburg startup Kiio is getting a double boost from WEA Trust, the not-for-profit Madison company that
provides health insurance plans for public employers throughout Wisconsin.

Kiio is getting a $1 million investment from WEA Trust as well as a three-year contract to provide services designed to help people with lower back pain.

Click here to read the entire story.

Results From Kiio’s Low Back Pain Program


We are very excited to announce the latest outcomes achieved with the Kiio Low Back Pain Program, an innovative use of technology that helps individuals and organizations who are struggling with the effects and costs of low back pain.  Click here to learn more about the program or contact us to see how you can put this program to work in your organization.

The numbers at a glance:

How Back Pain Impacts the Bottom Line of American Business


If you are one of the more than 30% of Americans who will suffer a low back pain episode this year, you are all too aware of the impact on your quality of life and pocketbook.

What you may not be aware of is the impact on your employer.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), low back pain is a leading health-related economic drain, with annual U.S. costs exceeding $100 billion (yes, billion).  Low back pain is a fixture on the WHO’s top twelve priority disease list not only because of its prevalence and impact on well-being, but also because of its impact on disability and work performance.

Low back pain disproportionately affects workers.  According to the United States Bone and Joint Initiative, 72% of adult low back pain healthcare visits are attributable to those under age 64, with prevalence peaking between the ages of 35 and 55 (WHO).  While certain industries are associated with higher than average back pain, desk workers are not immune.  In fact, 54% of those experiencing low back pain spend the majority of their workday sitting.  Furthermore, back pain is rising in younger workers, who spend an increasing number of hours hunched over tablets and smartphones.

So how does this impact the bottom line of American business?

Medical costs

Medical costs are borne by employers either directly, for those 63% of employers who are fully or partially self-funded, or indirectly, in the form of health insurance premiums.

Low back pain falls in the top three medical cost drivers for most healthcare payers.  Why so high?  It’s the second leading reason for primary care visits, and a significant percentage of patients are prescribed additional diagnostics and services.

What do we get for those dollars?  Unfortunately, not as much as we should expect.

Spending more and achieving less

Prescription rates for opioids, MRI imaging, epidural steroid injections, and spine surgery have climbed significantly over the past twenty years, with a corresponding rise in costs for those services.  But rather than declining in response to increased treatment, functional limitations and disability rates have risen during this same period.  It is only the relative intransparency of healthcare cost-to-benefit ratios that prevents this discordance from receiving the attention it deserves from corporate CFOs, benefits and wellness directors, and small business owners.

In addition to costs directly related to low back pain, sufferers are at increased risk for concurrent health issues, including depression, chronic fatigue, and obesity.  This not only complicates recovery, but also increases costs.  According to researchers at the University of Washington, Oregon Health & Science University, and Dartmouth Medical School, medical costs for individuals with low back pain are about 75% higher than costs for those without back pain.

Impact on worker’s compensation & disability costs

For low back pain, worker’s comp injuries are usually related to ergonomics and over-exertion.  A typical claim for a back injury runs $40,000 to $80,000, according to Ohio State University’s Spine Research Institute.

Low back pain is the leading cause of work-related disability in the U.S. (National Institutes for Health).  A 2013 survey found that 30% of chronic back pain sufferers reported filing for disability.  The Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI), a nonprofit workforce health and productivity research and analysis organization, calculates the cost per 100 workers of low back pain-related long- and short-term disability at $11,300 per year.

Hidden employment costs of back pain

Indirect costs include both absenteeism (missed work days) and presenteeism (reduced productivity while at work).  The costs to a business include lost production, idle assets, and benefit and payroll costs.  Absenteeism and presenteeism make up more than two-thirds of the total cost of low back pain to employers, according to IBI.

Low back pain is the leading cause of lost work days and activity limitation (WHO), and is responsible for about 40% of missed work days.  The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons found that in 2004, 25.9 million persons lost an average of 7.2 days of work due to back pain.  Primary care studies in chronic low back pain patients have found that average loss to be as high as 12 missed work days.

Additional indirect costs to employers include the cost of hiring and training new workers to replace workers temporarily or permanently unable to perform their job functions.  One in five workers are unable to return to work within a month of an episode; one in ten are unable to return within three months, and one in twenty are permanently disabled.  The median cost of replacing a worker?  About 21% of annual salary, according to the American Center for Progress, with costs significantly higher for those making over $75,000 per year and those with specialized education.

What works to reduce corporate costs of employee back pain

In part two of this series, we will look at ways employers can reduce the burden of low back pain on their employees and on their bottom line.

Lydia Zeller is Vice President of Product Strategy. She can be reached at lzeller@kiio.com.