OneDigital strikes partnership to offer employers health management tools

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About 50,000 more employers will have access to health management tools for their employees, thanks to a new partnership between OneDigital Health and Benefits and health platform One Drop.

One Drop’s tools will now be available for all of employer clients of OneDigital — the Atlanta-based benefits brokerage — so they can help employees better manage diabetes and other chronic conditions. The companies say they are just beginning to promote the partnership, and that its first client signed up, though they declined to name the employer.

The partnership comes as employers and brokers zero in on diabetes management as the condition increasingly affects workers. More than 100 million U.S. adults, or 9.4% of the population, now have diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Through the partnership, OneDigital will offer access to One Drop’s digital self-care programs for people at-risk or living with chronic conditions. That includes access to one-on-one coaching with certified diabetes educators via the One Drop app and AI decision support that can predict glucose readings up to 12 hours in advance and offer as needed actionable advice, such as “take a walk after dinner,” the companies say.

One Drop’s digital tool also monitors behaviors such as medication adherence, food and physical activity as well as blood sugar, blood pressure, weight and other health markers.

See also: OneDigital completes largest acquisition in company history

Coincidentally, executives for the two companies first met last September at Employee Benefit News and Employee Benefit Adviser’s Benefits Forum and Expo in New Orleans. OneDigital says it was intrigued by the fact that One Drop was direct-to-consumer before becoming an employer-focused company.

“That to me brought huge credibility because it meant that individuals were paying out of their own pocket for this product,” says Shira Wilensky, the national practice leader of health and well-being at OneDigital. “So if it is something that employees actually see value in and are excited and eager to engage and participate then you’ve won half your battle,” Wilensky says. “That really got my attention.”

One Drop started in 2015 as a free consumer app. CEO Jeff Dachis founded the company as he struggled to manage his own diabetes diagnosis. Dachis was looking for ways to help people from a solutions perspective. In late 2016, early 2017, One Drop launched its wireless blood glucose meter and test strips subscription products, which they bundled with a diabetes education and coaching platform.

Traditional disease management programs get their results from employees participating in a biometric screening or health risk assessment, Wilensky says, which means they are self identifying as having risk factors. Other forms of identification comes through insurance claims or pharmacy data.

“In any way, shape or form, when employees are identified they are reached out to by a medical carrier or a vendor and they are sent communication saying they have been identified as high risk … and that they need to participate in this program to receive incentives,” she says. “The nature of these programs result in employees feeling targeted and singled out, so as a result there is very low participation.”

OneDigital says the partnership with One Drop is different because it is meant to help employers better help employees participate and engage in their own health.

“This is different is because you’re giving the employee something as opposed to asking them to do something,” Wilensky says. “Of course you are encouraging them to sign up and to log their [data], but you’re giving them a tool that makes something that they should be doing already easier and more convenient.”

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Diabetes Chronic care Benefits technology Adviser strategies Health and wellness