Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States, followed by cancer and, in more recent years, COVID-19. And though loss of life is the worst outcome, when you factor in medications, care, and loss of productivity, heart disease also costs the U.S. almost $230 billion each year.
Castlight’s 2022 Workforce Health Index shows that for the commercially-insured population, cardiovascular care is the third most costly care category, behind musculoskeletal care and cancer care. In both 2020 and 2021, cardiovascular care made up 9.3% of total employer medical spend. (Find the cardiovascular care spend among the commercial population for your state here.)
It’s unfortunately no surprise that heart disease accounts for almost one of every five deaths in the U.S. Almost half of adults have hypertension, one of the top risk factors—and of those, more than 75% do not have their blood pressure under control. In addition, many U.S. adults struggle with other top heart disease risk factors, including:
This issue is further compounded by the impact COVID-19 has had on heart health. Studies have shown that, in addition to causing major complications for those who already struggle with heart conditions, COVID-19 can also cause heart damage in those who had a perfectly healthy heart prior to contracting the virus.
Fortunately, whether a member is struggling with heart issues that were caused or exacerbated by COVID-19, or not related to it at all, Castlight can help.
Castlight’s Clinical Interventions Framework
One way we ensure we’re surfacing the right recommendations for each member is by leveraging our Clinical Interventions Framework, an evidence-based, rigorous, and systematic approach to personalizing each member’s health journey with the goal of engaging them in high-value, clinically-validated interventions.
This proprietary framework is anchored on seven universal clinical goals we want to help every member achieve, plus a list of interventions we can offer to support each goal. For each condition and intervention, we completed an extensive review of evidence-based guidelines—U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, American College of Physicians, and more—to ensure our approach is up to date and aligned with the latest expert advice.
By ingesting and interpreting data from several sources—medical and prescription claims, health assessments, member activity within the Castlight platform, and eligible programs—Castlight can guide each member to the appropriate care, whether that’s educational resources, a high-value provider like a cardiologist, or a digital health program that can help them with their heart health, such as:
- Hello Heart
- Rx Savings Solutions
Care Guides in Action
Castlight’s Care Guides, our team of clinical and benefits experts, can play a vital role in ensuring members are aware of and able to access resources, programs, and services available to them so they can achieve and maintain a healthy heart. Here are some real-life examples:
- Layla* reached out to our Care Guide, Donna, because she needed to make an appointment with a cardiologist as soon as possible for a pressing health issue. The only issue? She needed a referral and she didn’t have a primary care physician (PCP) to give her the referral because her PCP had recently passed away. With Layla’s permission, Donna called an urgent care center near Layla and confirmed they could provide a cardiologist referral as soon as Layla stopped by. Layla was able to see the cardiologist to address the original health issue and help her start tackling some underlying health issues as well.
- When Meg* originally reached out to one of our Castlight Care Guides, Pam, it was to seek help for her anxiety and depression. During their conversation, Pam discovered Meg needed to be connected with a few other specialists. In addition to helping Meg obtain mental health support, she also was able to help her set up an appointment with her hematologist and receive much-needed and overdue infusions of iron, a mineral that’s critical for heart health.
- Shortly after being diagnosed with COVID-19, Nick* was having trouble sleeping due to a cough that kept him up at night. He connected with a Care Guide, Trina, to get medicine for the cough. Care Guides can’t prescribe medications, so Trina directed Nick to a place where he could receive the care he needed. She also informed Nick about signs and symptoms of an emergency to watch out for and told him that, if he experienced any of these—or if his current symptoms worsened—he needed to go to the ER immediately. A few days later, due to the advice Trina provided, Nick took himself to the ER. As it turns out, he had a pulmonary embolism. The doctor put him on blood thinning medication to help with the blood clot. This treatment was crucial, as untreated pulmonary embolisms can cause severe issues, like cardiac arrest, and even lead to death.
These are just a few examples of how Castlight’s best-in-class Care Guides have helped our members care for their hearts.
*Names have been changed for confidentiality.