Moving the dial on chronic disease management

Welcome to the third of our six-part Sanofi Insights – a series of articles created to provide you with insights into highlights of the 2020 Sanofi Healthcare Survey results.

Chronic diseases are considered to be among the most dangerous conditions found amongst Canadian workers. Chronic diseases are a major driver of absence, disability, and lost productivity.  With more than 1 in 5 Canadian adults living with a chronic disease, and 4 in 5 having at least one modifiable risk factor, the impact is significant.  These stats qualify chronic disease as an area of concern, and something organizations need to pay close attention to.

Chronic disease within the group benefits plan

The management of chronic disease is imperative to understand within a group benefits plan. Interestingly, there is a disconnect year over year with respect to the assessment around the prevalence of chronic disease in the workplace by plan sponsors (34% in 2020) and the actual presence through diagnosis that plan members report (58% in 2020). Plan sponsors don’t seem to have an accurate picture when it comes to the prevalence of chronic disease within their workplace. The question is, how do we bring these results into alignment?

Survey results showed that 88% of plan sponsors would like their group benefits plan to provide more tools and services in the area of supporting plan members with chronic diseases. In fact, 43% of plan sponsors consider improving coverage and/or services that can help manage chronic diseases as the top priority. This result had the largest shift from the 2019 response (34%), indicating increased readiness for change and improvement.

What plan sponsors can do

The results from the 2020 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey highlight the need for organizations to look at how they can better manage chronic disease in their workplaces. Two-thirds of plan members live with a chronic condition and/or chronic pain, and more than half of them report negative impacts on job performance as a result. Of the plan members surveyed, 58% report having at least one chronic condition. This increases to 70% among those aged 55 and older, and 93% among those in poor health.

The most common chronic conditions plan members suffer from are:

  • Mental illness (20%)
  • Hypertension (12%)
  • High cholesterol (12%)
  • Arthritis (11%)
  • Asthma/lung disease (9%)
  • Diabetes (8%)

Plan sponsors may wonder where to begin but solutions are available. We recommend assessing your needs to determine the type of services that would be most beneficial to your organization.  Services like People Corporation’s health coaching program make it easy to offer services that can help move the dial on chronic disease management.

Written by Dana Hurst, Senior Director of Health Solutions at People Corporation, with insight provided by Shannon Darvill, Consultant at Silverberg Group, a People Corporation Company, and a Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey Advisory Board Member.