Article

Restoring movement and reducing pain for Humana members – the impact of Joint Academy’s digital treatments three months on

June 15, 2022

Chronic joint pain is a growing concern across the US and MSK conditions are one of the largest drivers of payers’ medical spend. As many as 54 million Americans live with chronic joint pain today. What’s worse, a chronic joint pain diagnosis increases the risk of several other severe illnesses, including diabetes, hypertension and heart disease — further fuelling payers’ medical spend.

That’s where Joint Academy comes in. We work with payers and providers across the country to offer their members a low-cost and clinically-proven treatment that’s available via an app straight through the patient’s phone, meaning that the patients always have access to their treatment and to their personal, licensed physical therapist for support.

We recently partnered with Humana, one of the most prominent providers in the country, to offer their members Joint Academy’s low-cost, low-risk at-home solution. Only a few months into our partnership, we’re already seeing significant progress among the Humana members that have opted for the Joint Academy treatment. On average, patients’ mobility has increased by 55% and pain levels have decreased by 47% after just three months in the treatment. Better yet, the use of prescription pain medication has dramatically shrunk among the members since they started the Joint Academy treatment:

Verna, a 66-year-old Humana Key Medical member, has been living with severe shoulder pain for a while. Her condition stemmed from repetitive daily activity related to her work and the pain was so intolerable that painkillers didn’t help. Verna had an X-ray taken on both shoulders and was sent to a physical therapist in person by her doctor, but the pain remained. It was only when she was offered the Joint Academy treatment by Humana Key Medical and decided to try it that her pain levels improved. It takes Verna ten minutes a day to do the exercises that her licensed physical therapist has prescribed her and after just a few weeks in the treatment, her pain levels went from 8/10 to 4/10:

“I’ve been part of a group together with other patients in the Joint Academy app, which keeps me motivated to keep going until I reach the finish line. Now I am able to lift my left arm with no help from my right hand, able to raise my arms as high as I can and lift more than 10lbs of weight. I hope more patients will be able to see improvements with the help of exercises as they are easy to do and take very little time, but also a very effective form of treatment.”

Verna’s story isn’t unique. Rik, a 71-year-old Humana member from California, wanted to try a low-risk option before opting for surgery. Rik has been diagnosed with osteoarthritis in his right knee, but since starting digital treatment, he no longer experiences any pain in his knee.

Rik Howard’s primary goal with the treatment was to avoid surgery and be able to go for hikes again

Many studies actually show that first-line treatment, consisting of physical therapy and education, is enough to heavily reduce pain for the vast majority of patients with chronic joint pain. This is great news to payers, who spend upwards of $30.000 for a single total joint replacement. But, as Dr Jeffrey McManus, Regional Medical Director at Humana, says:

“Physical therapy only works if the member participates in the treatment.”

Indeed — and that’s why we’re so happy that 70% of Joint Academy’s patients adhere to at least 80% of their treatment program while under the care of a licensed physical therapist. This is important, since greater adherence results in better medical outcomes — which, in turn, may result in postponed or prevented joint replacement surgeries.

We’re very happy to be partnering with Humana, and even happier that many of their members are already experiencing reduced pain and restored their movement in significant ways through the Joint Academy treatments.

Are you a payer looking to reduce your MSK spend while improving medical outcomes? Reach out to [email protected].

/Kari DeRohan, Clinical Operations Lead