Thursday, March 3, 2011

University of Kansas examines: "Does MedEncentive work?"

By Jeff Greene

I am struck by the dichotomy of our belief systems.  Often, we want to hear it “straight from the horse’s mouth” before we believe.  However, if someone is trying to sell us something, we seek testimonials from “independent experts.”

For over six years, my colleagues and I have been pursuing a goal of fundamentally resolving the health and healthcare crisis in our country with MedEncentive’s unique web-based incentive system.  To this end, we have been reporting the findings from our real-world trials that clearly indicate that our system does, in fact, bend the cost curve.  It accomplishes this feat by improving both health and healthcare through a process that triangulates the interests of the patient, physician and payer.

Knowing that people would be skeptical when we pronounced the efficacy of our solution, we have been actively seeking confirmation of our findings by independent, academic analysis.  I am pleased to report that this objective has been accomplished.

Researchers from the University of Kansas School of Medicine (KUSM) took on the charge of independently analyzing our solution about two years ago.  Recently, they traveled to our offices in Oklahoma City to present their latest findings from two of MedEncentive’s trial installations.  KUSM conducted this research with funding from the State of Kansas, private foundations and other sources.  MedEncentive has not provided any moneys for this research.

One KUSM study is entitled: “Does MedEncentive Work?”  To answer this question, the researchers examined claims data for a self-insured employer in Kansas before and after implementing MedEncentive.  They found that physician office visits increased 13%, while hospitalizations declined 55%, over a period of two and a half years.  This is obviously an extraordinary result.  It is also noteworthy that the KUSM’s findings are consistent what we found in our other trial installations.

I encourage you to take a moment to click on this link (KUSM – Does MedEncentive work?) to view KUSM’s research poster and study abstract.  It is very well done, lists an impressive group of researchers, and tells a great story.  We understand the poster created quite a stir when it was presented at a recent healthcare conference in Seattle. 

In a separate study, Dr. Doug Bradham, a behavioral economist, and his KUSM research team determined that our longest running trial installation (located in Oklahoma) saved between $3.10 to $17.70 for each dollar invested in our program over a period of four years.  Dr. Bradham presented the attached slides (KUSM ROI slides) at the annual Care Continuum Alliance Conference, in Washington, DC.  He and his colleagues have stated that achieving this level of cost containment for this length of time is remarkable.

The findings from both of these studies are now public.  The KUSM researchers plan to submit a series of articles to peer-reviewed journals that will expound upon their findings.  This link (KUSM Ix abstract) is to the abstract of KUSM’s  first published article dealing with the benefits of information therapy in our program.  It appears in the latest issue of the Journal of Primary Care & Community Health.

Obviously, we would like to see more of this research published (and discovered by decision-makers) as soon as possible, especially the definitive financial analyses.  However, it takes time to compose these articles and to have them accepted by peer-reviewed journals.  KUSM is actively seeking additional funding to complete and expand upon their research.

We are more confident in our solution than ever.  In fact, we believe we have only scratched the surface.  By this I mean we have demonstrated that MedEncentive bends the cost curve and produces a significant return-on-investment (ROI) using only evidence-based treatment guidelines and information therapy delivered in the office setting.  Though these are powerful tools, we have yet to apply our system to other medical interventions such as health risk assessments, medication adherence, smoking cessation, hospitalizations, etc., which we believe will further increase savings and the ROI.

Our confidence in our solution is such that we will soon be announcing a challenge in the form of a “request for proposal” in which we plan to fund a one year trial involving 25,000 to 30,000 people.  So stay tuned.

Now that you have heard (and seen) it “straight from the horse’s mouth” that “independent experts” have determined MedEncentive does, in fact, work, I welcome your comments and suggestions on how we can spread this good and important news.

Thank you...


  1. Jeff,
    Fantastic article and it is great to see independently documented results.
    Keep up the good work.

    Marilyn H Bell, MichPHA

  2. Providing "real time" modest financial incenetives to the patients and physicians to cooperate sure makes more sense than the standard model of either telling somone to do something because it is good for them or putting the physician in a role where thay are saying "no" to an uninformed patient.

  3. MedEncentive's program is simple in the fact that it pays health care consumers and their doctors for the same evidence-based activities and outcomes. The toughest part of implementing MedEncentive isn't the program itself, but the breaking down of old mind sets, reward structures and administrative payment systems. The biggest hurdle for benefit designers is the one placed there by those who want to keep doing the same old things for the same poor outcomes. Me? I'm willing to step around that hurdle and chart a different course. I hope Jeff and his team can convince more to do just that.

  4. The concept of getting both the doctor and the patient involved in a system of mutual accountability seems so simple - yet, apparently, so effective. And it looks like it can be implemented with ease. Glad you are getting the data out.