Free tool helps calculate return on investment from better asthma care
Research Activities, November 2009
Employers are seeking solutions that can help reduce their health care costs without sacrificing the health care services provided to their employees or harming worker productivity. A new online, evidence-based tool, the Asthma Return-on-Investment Calculator developed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), can help employers decide whether it is cost-effective to establish an asthma care management program for employees and their families. According to AHRQ's 2008 National Healthcare Quality Report, the annual cost of treating asthma is nearly $20 billion, which includes nearly $15 billion in direct medical costs and another $5 billion in costs due to lost productivity.
The Asthma Return-on-Investment Calculator can be used to calculate how a group of employees would fare under an asthma care management program. For example, if 10,000 privately insured New York employees who visited the hospital emergency department for asthma were enrolled in a care management program, ED visits could shrink by about 4,700. This reduction could save close to $1 million in hospital emergency room costs. After factoring in money saved by not admitting patients to hospitals and decreased use of asthma medications, an additional $4.2 million in savings could be realized. To see how businesses can improve their bottom line by improving asthma care for employees, view AHRQ's free Asthma Return-on-Investment Calculator at statesnapshots.ahrq.gov/asthma.