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Helping Organizations Identify & Deliver High-Impact, Low-Cost Interventions

To reduce the incidence and cost of diseases in the workplace, the Center for Workplace Health develops data-driven health solutions to assist self-insured employers, Taft-Hartley plans and medical insurers improve health and constrain health care spending. Interested in the center’s services? Email the team’s point of contact to set up an initial consult.

Experts affiliated with the center study trends in insurance claims data to identify costly medical conditions within populations of medically insured workers and their dependents. To advance high-value care, the center identifies providers and health facilities in the community that are associated with high cost. This helps employers make rational decisions when choosing the most cost-effective providers. The team also suggests or designs interventions to address cost outliers while decreasing morbidity, improving health and increasing productivity.

Focus Areas

The Center for Workplace Health publishes its research findings to benefit health care providers, payers and customers. For example, recent studies led by the center found that: excessive physical therapy dramatically drives up costs for workers’ compensation payers; and advances in early Hepatitis C treatment led to a decline in the costly and severe consequences of an infection, such as cirrhosis and liver cancer.

The team discovers health solutions tailored to employers’ populations through a variety of means, including:

  • Using major medical, workers’ compensation and disability claims to identify areas of increased or inappropriate spending
  • Comparing differences in costs and disability duration among providers
  • Quantifying the clinical and social factors associated with high costs for various clinical diagnoses
  • Focusing on interventions that can produce a high return on investment
  • Concentrating on organizations with the incentives and means to deliver a cost-effective intervention
  • Ability to track the return on investment of all interventions

Large, labor-intensive, self-insured organizations with low operating margins have the greatest opportunity for high-impact interventions. Examples include hospitals, manufacturers, retailers, school districts and government agencies.

The Center for Workplace Health team is experienced in establishing and managing on-site clinics in a range of settings from health care to manufacturing. For an appropriate workplace population, on-site clinics create a high return on investment in terms of both health and cost savings.

On-site clinics benefit employees by reducing their out-of-pocket medical expenses, transportation costs and time away from work. Through comprehensive wellness programs, chronic conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes can be detected early — or even prevented — by an on-site medical professional. Recurrent health education and screening events give employees insights to make healthy changes like weight loss and smoking cessation.

At UT Health Austin, the clinical practice of Dell Med, the center operates the WorkLife Walk-in Clinic to provide quick and convenient care for a wide range of illnesses and injuries.

The team offers a predictive analytics tool for workers’ compensation claims. The tool allows adjusters to accurately predict the ultimate cost of the claim before any health care or indemnity (lost wages) are incurred. With this information adjusters can develop a strategy to manage claims to achieve the best medical outcomes at the lowest possible cost with the least disability. This proven tool is most useful for managing claims that are seemingly minor but develop into catastrophic (high-cost) cases.

The Center for Workplace Health helps patients and benefits managers identify community medical providers whose cost of care significantly exceeds the average cost of care for other local providers. The team constructs scorecards based on quality and cost outcomes. The scorecards, which are adjusted for disease or illness severity, make it easier for people to select high-quality, cost-efficient medical providers.

In keeping with Dell Medical School’s emphasis on value-based care, the Center for Workplace Health provides employers with outcomes-centered resources to advance health in an efficient way.

Clay Johnston, M.D., Ph.D.

Email the team