Identifying Target Population

Diabetes Management in the Workplace

Diabetes Program Strategies: Identifying Your Target Population

To make informed decisions about how to prioritize your diabetes management efforts, you must first identify the segments of your workforce that will benefit the most from targeted programs and initiatives. To accomplish this, determine what data you have available to you. If possible, have your vendors, health plans and PBMs capture information on individuals with diagnosed diabetes, as well as those with prediabetes (high risk for developing the condition).

Aggregate all available data, including the following primary types of data:

Claims & Utilization Biometric Measures Health Risk Assessment
Determine source Health plans, PBMs, disability and absence management programs, hospitals, medical groups Health fairs, onsite screenings, clinics, doctor’s office, labs Part of existing wellness programs, health fairs, onsite screenings, one-off initiatives
What to look for Diabetes-related medical/pharmacy claims: hospital admissions, ER visits, lab tests; absences and related sick days, short/long term disability, workers comp; common diabetes comorbid conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol and depression (which research indicates is prominent for people with multiple co-morbidities) Aggregate measures of blood sugar and others, including blood pressure, cholesterol, body mass index, waist circumference, that indicate possible comorbidities like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity Employee health concerns and interests, perceived health status, lifestyle behaviors, readiness to change, barriers to change, participation and current diabetes diagnoses and comorbidities
What you’ll get Captures employees who are on the radar and using the health care system, e.g. benefits and disease management programs Data that provides a big picture view of the number of employees with diabetes and the size of the at-risk population Results provide a snapshot of self-reported employee health status, needs and interests; can add questions based on what you are looking to learn about your workforce
Issues to note Only tells part of the story; may miss those who are undiagnosed or living with prediabetes, or who avoid treatment or screenings Some controversy about possible over-testing; differing recommendations from government agencies 10 Although self-reported data involves some bias, HRAs still offer valuable, useful information and allow you to tailor and target proactive behavior change programs 11

Use the data you collect to segment your population into the following categories for potential interventions:

  • Diagnosed and currently being treated – participating in a disease management program
  • At risk of developing diabetes – diagnosed with prediabetes or undiagnosed but have risk factors based on HRA results and biometric measures
  • May be at risk in the future – based on HRA results that report lifestyle behaviors and some biometric measures

From here, you can build your program and implement initiatives based on which of these groups you want to target. The data you gather will help you design a program that will provide the insight needed to focus your strategy on the audiences that need it the most and offer the best chance of engaging people to participate.