TelehealthEndometriosisWorkplace

Endometriosis and Its Economic Impact: Navigating Healthcare Utilization, Workplace Challenges, and the Role of Telehealth Solutions 

Executive Summary  

Endometriosis is a painful gynecological disorder that affects around 1 in 10 women during their reproductive years. Even though it is quite common, endometriosis often goes unrecognized. This leads to delays in getting diagnosed and receiving proper treatment. 

This white paper looks at the major impact endometriosis has on the use of healthcare services. It uses compelling data to show just how many healthcare resources are needed to manage this condition. The findings reveal a striking difference in healthcare utilization between women with endometriosis and the general population. 

Women with endometriosis have higher rates of hospital admissions, emergency room visits, doctor appointments, and surgeries compared to women without the condition. Delays in receiving treatment make the situation even worse, increasing the demand for healthcare resources and adding to the economic and emotional burden on patients. 

This report is a call for urgent action. It advocates for: 

  • Raising more awareness about endometriosis 
  • Faster pathways for early diagnosis 
  • Better treatment options 
  • Comprehensive support for those affected 

The insights provided aim to inform healthcare providers, policymakers, and others involved, driving meaningful improvements in endometriosis care and management. 

Healthcare Utilization in Endometriosis Patients: Insights from Medicaid Data 

The analysis of Medicaid data shows that endometriosis patients’ healthcare resource utilization (HCRU) is much more frequent compared to those without the condition. This highlights the significant impact endometriosis has on patients and the healthcare system. 

Endometriosis patients have higher rates of:  

  • Hospital admissions: 33.1% vs 7.2% in the control group 
  • Hospital stays: 1.30 days vs 0.39 days in the control group 
  • Emergency room visits: 71.5% vs 42.2% in the control group, with an average of 3.24 visits per patient vs 1.24 in the control group 
  • Physician office visits: 96.8% of endometriosis patients vs 71.6% of controls, with an average of 10.44 visits per patient vs 5.10 in the control group  

When looking specifically at healthcare services related to endometriosis, the differences are even more pronounced. For example, 14.5% of endometriosis patients had hospital admissions related to the condition, and they had an average of 0.15 emergency room visits per patient for endometriosis-related issues. (1) 

Overall, the data shows that endometriosis patients use healthcare services significantly more often than those without the condition. This emphasizes the complexity of managing endometriosis and the need for targeted strategies to support those affected. 

Impact of Delay in Healthcare Utilization  

The data shows how diagnostic delay affects healthcare use in endometriosis patients. The longer the delay in diagnosis, the more healthcare services are needed, leading to higher costs. This pattern is seen across different types of healthcare visits like regular check-ups, emergency room visits, and hospital stays. 

Before getting diagnosed, nearly all patients had at least one regular check-up. But as the time to diagnosis increased, the average number of check-ups also went up, from 47.3 visits for patients diagnosed quickly to 69.1 visits for those with longer delays. This increase was significant (p < 0.001 for all comparisons). Emergency room visits showed a similar trend. While about 66% of patients visited the emergency room, the number of visits rose with longer delays in diagnosis. Before diagnosis, 22% of patients had to stay in the hospital, and this percentage increased along with the delay in getting diagnosed. (2) 

The data clearly shows that longer delays in diagnosing endometriosis lead to significantly higher healthcare utilization and costs for patients: 

  • About 92% of endometriosis patients had an endometriosis-related ambulatory visit before diagnosis, with the number of visits increasing as the delay in diagnosis got longer 
  • Patients with longer diagnostic delays were more likely to have endometriosis-related emergency room visits and had a greater number of such visits 
  •  Endometriosis-related inpatient stays, though less common, also increased with prolonged diagnostic delays 
  • All-cause healthcare costs in the pre-diagnosis period averaged $28,376, with ambulatory visits being the main cost driver 
  • Patients with longer delays faced substantially higher all-cause costs, especially in pharmacy and medical expenses 
  • Pre-diagnosis endometriosis-related costs made up a significant portion of all-cause costs, with this percentage rising as the delay in diagnosis increased 
  • Patients with intermediate or long delays had nearly double or more than double the pre-diagnosis endometriosis-related costs compared to those diagnosed quickly (2) 

In summary, the data demonstrates that delays in diagnosing endometriosis lead to greater HCRU and higher costs for patients, underscoring the importance of earlier diagnosis and treatment to reduce the burden of this chronic condition. 

Navigating the Economic Impact of Endometriosis in the Workplace 

Endometriosis, a condition that requires significant healthcare resources and spending, poses a significant economic challenge for employers. This section will discuss the effects of endometriosis on the workplace and suggest strategies to minimize these impacts. 

Increased Healthcare Costs and Utilization 

  • The data shows that endometriosis patients have much higher healthcare costs compared to those without the condition. Over a 12-month period, endometriosis patients had an average of $13,670 in healthcare costs, while those without the condition had an average of $5,779. (1) 
  • This higher healthcare utilization, including more hospital admissions, emergency room visits, and doctor appointments, leads to increased costs for health insurance companies. These higher costs are then passed on to employers through higher insurance premiums. 

Impact on Workforce Productivity 

  • Frequent healthcare needs and the long-term nature of endometriosis can lead to more missed workdays and lower productivity. This doesn’t just affect the individual’s job performance but also influences team dynamics and overall workplace efficacy. (3) 

Financial Burden of Hospitalizations and Treatments 

  • The financial burden of hospitalizations and treatments for endometriosis is substantial, with hospital admissions accounting for 42.3% of the total costs for endometriosis patients. This is a significant contributor to the financial burden borne by employers through health insurance and lost productivity. 

Strategies for Employers 

Comprehensive Health Insurance Coverage 

Employers can offer health insurance plans that cover specialized treatments for endometriosis. This can help employees access early and effective care, potentially reducing long-term costs. 

Flexible Work Options 

Providing flexible work arrangements like remote work or adjusted duties can support employees with endometriosis. This flexibility can enhance the productivity and well-being of these employees. 

Awareness Programs 

Employers can start programs to educate employees about endometriosis. This can aid in early detection and treatment, reduce stigma, and encourage affected employees to seek timely medical assistance. 

Recommendations 

Telehealth Solutions for Endometriosis 

Integrating telehealth services can be an effective way for employers to manage the impact of endometriosis in the workplace, given the significant healthcare utilization and costs associated with the condition. 

Reduced Healthcare Costs 

Telehealth can lower overall healthcare costs for both employees and employers by enabling early diagnosis and management of endometriosis. This can potentially reduce the need for expensive hospital stays and emergency room visits. 

Improved Access to Specialized Care 

Telehealth services provide employees with easier access to endometriosis specialists and ongoing care, which is crucial for chronic conditions that require regular monitoring. 

Mental Health Support 

Telehealth services often include mental health support, which is essential for managing the psychological impact of chronic conditions like endometriosis. 

Less Absenteeism and Higher Productivity 

By providing accessible and efficient care, telehealth can help reduce the frequency of hospital visits and time off work, leading to decreased absenteeism and increased productivity. 

Personalized Care 

Telehealth enables personalized medical recommendations and can expedite the diagnosis process, resulting in more effective management of endometriosis.  

Conclusion 

Endometriosis is a significant health concern that affects millions of women worldwide. The data presented in this white paper highlights the substantial impact of endometriosis on healthcare utilization, workplace productivity, and the economic burden on employers. The findings underscore the importance of early diagnosis, effective treatment, and comprehensive support for those affected. 

The recommendations outlined in this white paper aim to inform healthcare providers, policymakers, and employers on strategies to mitigate the effects of endometriosis. By integrating telehealth solutions, providing comprehensive health insurance coverage, and implementing flexible work options, employers can play a crucial role in supporting employees with endometriosis. 

The integration of telehealth services into the management of endometriosis can help employers effectively reduce healthcare costs, improve employee health, and increase workplace productivity. It represents a proactive approach in addressing the challenges posed by this condition in the modern workforce.  

Ultimately, the goal is to reduce the economic and emotional burden of endometriosis on individuals and society. By working together, we can create a more supportive and inclusive environment for those affected by this chronic condition. 

Reference 

  1. Soliman AM, Surrey ES, Bonafede M, Nelson JK, Vora JB, Agarwal SK. Health Care Utilization and Costs Associated with Endometriosis Among Women with Medicaid Insurance. J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2019;25(5):566-572. doi:10.18553/jmcp.2019.25.5.566 
  1. Surrey E, Soliman AM, Trenz H, Blauer-Peterson C, Sluis A. Impact of Endometriosis Diagnostic Delays on Healthcare Resource Utilization and Costs. Adv Ther. 2020;37(3):1087-1099. doi:10.1007/s12325-019-01215-x 
  1. Soliman AM, Rahal Y, Robert C, et al. Impact of Endometriosis on Fatigue and Productivity Impairment in a Cross-Sectional Survey of Canadian Women. J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2021;43(1):10-18. doi:10.1016/j.jogc.2020.06.022 

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