Canary Health’s Online Self-Management Program Reduces Healthcare Costs & Improves Outcomes

We continue to be excited about our collaboration with Canary Health, a leading digital therapeutics company that offers proven digital health self-management programs for people with chronic diseases. With the Canary Health’s well-established programs, we are able to offer healthcare organizations broader, deeper, and more holistic diabetes management solutions that improve clinical outcomes, while reducing the cost of care. According to the most recent estimates from the American Diabetes Association, the total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2017 was $327 billion, including $237 billion in direct medical costs and $90 billion in reduced productivity[1].

Canary Health’s Better Choices, Better Health™ (BCBH) program for people with type 2 diabetes was recently at the center of one of the largest peer-reviewed studies ever conducted of a digital diabetes self-management program. New study results demonstrating cost savings were recently published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research. The analysis, conducted by Anthem Health Plan’s HealthCore, Inc., the Stanford Patient Education Research Center, and the National Council on Aging, focused on the cost impact of Canary Health’s digital, peer-to-peer, chronic disease self-management service (BCBH) and included rigorous analysis of participants against a matched control group conducted by Anthem’s analytics team.

Reduction in Healthcare Costs

The results tell a powerful story about the impact that Canary Health’s digital chronic disease self-management programs can have on both health outcomes and costs. The study demonstrated significant healthcare savings of $815 per patient over the 12 months after the program. In fact, according to Canary Health, this reduction in costs was more than 2.5 times the cost of the program. These cost savings were mainly driven by:

  • Reduced healthcare utilization in the year post intervention
  • Lowered claims for inpatient, outpatient, pharmacy and Emergency Department
  • Decreased claims across variety of comorbid conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and depression
  • The reduction in costs did not come primarily from decreased diabetes costs, but from the conditions which are frequently experienced by patients with type 2 diabetes

Improved Health Outcomes

The program also improved important health outcomes for the enrolled population. The study’s 12-month results were previously published in the Journal of Medical Internet Research, showing that the health benefits from Better Choices, Better Health persist after 12 months, long after people completed the six-week program.

The 12-month study results showed that improvements previously noted at the six-month mark were maintained or amplified at one year, even though there were no specific changes in medications or treatment regimens. Notable outcomes across five key diabetes management and behavioral indicators included:

  • Reduction in HbA1C (average blood glucose)
  • Reduction of HBA1c by 1.27% for those with a value >9% on entry into the study
  • Reduction in hypoglycemic symptoms
  • Reduction in depression symptoms
  • Improved medication adherence
  • Improved participation in exercise and healthy diets

Behavioral Changes

Better Choices, Better Health is effective 12 months after the program’s completion because participants learn to reframe their challenges—not just their illnesses—with tools that help them manage their lives, their relationships, their emotions, and their chronic conditions. Most importantly, Better Choices, Better Health is a valuable component to a program that aims to manage diabetes effectively and holistically.

In the future, we are looking to offer a program for large employers where Medtronic will aim to reduce healthcare spending while simultaneously improving engagement with their population of employees who live with diabetes. By combining a proven diabetes self-management education curriculum with blood glucose monitoring technology and personalized guidance with trained clinical coaches, we are confident that we can affect a significant savings while improving overall health.


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