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SAIC uses digital MSK solution to boost physical therapy use and reduce surgeries

February 14, 2024 | 2 min read

Employers spend more on musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders annually than on cancer and diabetes combined. [1] In fact, 75% of employers say that MSK conditions are their number one healthcare cost. [2] Those expenses don’t account for the wages employees lose or the transportation costs they incur getting treatment or relief for their spine, neck, or joint pain.

Fortune 500 technology integrator Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) joined us for a webinar. They shared the success they've seen with improved employee engagement and health outcomes at lower costs through their partnership with Accolade and Sword Health. The integration of Accolade’s Trusted Partner Ecosystem empowers personalized, cost-effective, and high-value care. Here are four notable benefits of this groundbreaking approach to MSK health.

  1. Fewer barriers: About 50% of people drop in-person physical therapy after just four sessions. Some of the reasons include trouble finding transportation, taking time off work, and covering co-pay costs—all barriers that disproportionately affect communities of color and women. A virtual physical therapy model enables a patient-centered, culturally sensitive approach, which allows all people to receive convenient treatment. SAIC’s Vice President of Benefits, Lorri Ronis, found that more than half of SAIC employees take advantage of this convenience by attending therapy sessions after standard hours, which includes early mornings and weekends.

  2. Precise treatments: Sword’s solution uses AI for motion tracking in PT sessions. Motion sensor data detects a person’s exact movements and delivers biofeedback directly to physical therapists. This ensures the movements are done correctly, reduces the risk of pain or injury, and allows for adjustments in the next session. It’s an approach that, when done to completion, has been shown to be as effective as in-person physical therapy.

  3. Enhanced outcomes: A virtual therapy model like Sword’s reduces barriers to care for members and leads to more people completing their sessions. At SAIC, 80% of employees who enrolled in a SWORD MSK program finished their therapy. Additionally, 63% of employees dropped plans for MSK surgery.

  4. Improved engagement: When you integrate care and make it convenient, employees are more likely to engage with their health. Ronis shared how Accolade’s Care Team provides timely referrals that help SAIC employees and families find and use digital health benefits, like the Sword MSK solution. “Healthcare is an individual journey and our employees, and their dependents, need someone to guide them,” said Ronis. “We partner with Accolade for that healthcare navigation and education to help our employees and their dependents be smart consumers of healthcare and take advantage of the programs SAIC offers at the time that they need it.”

Watch the complete webinar to learn more.

[1] https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2762309

[2] https://www.businessgrouphealth.org/resources/2022-large-employers-health-care-strategy-and-plan-design-survey

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