Dr Paul Chew: Employers Need to Embrace Diabetes Prevention in the Workplace

With 30% to 40% of people in the workforce at risk for prediabetes, it is important for employers to embrace diabetes prevention in the workplace, said Paul Chew, MD, chief medical officer of Omada Health.

Why is it important to engage employers in diabetes prevention?
Omada is approaching a problem that is found with every workforce. We estimate that 30% to 40% of people in the American workforce may be at risk for prediabetes. What elevates the risk? If you’re 45 or older, if you have a close relative with diabetes, if you’re a member of a minority group, if you’re overweight or obese. Those factors are found in a large number of Americans in the workforce. We feel strongly that the workforce, where you spend so much of your time, is a great opportunity for employers to reduce their costs and to improve the overall health, well-being, and enthusiasm of their employees.

How should an employer evaluate a digital health?
One of the most important things that faces employers—in fact, the nation overall--is the ballooning cost of healthcare. For employers, I would suggest they look at their organizations for the major healthcare costs, and I’m sure it will be diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and obesity at the top. They should look at potential solutions that can reach the broadest number of people when they need it, when they want it, at home, at the office, or even at restaurants, where they can access a digital program. They should look for publications that validate this particular company’s approach in terms of clinical outcomes and return on investment. They should also look at a digital solution or a face-to-face solution that can be accessed and help the employer reach as many of their employees as possible. We know there are initiatives that are just not taken up because the approach or engagement of employees is just not there. 
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