Sharecare expands digital health platform with tobacco cessation benefit

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Sharecare, a digital healthcare management company, is expanding its benefits platform with the integration of a tobacco cessation program from MindSciences, a digital therapeutics provider, aiming to address a health crisis costing U.S. employers $300 billion a year.

Sharecare’s clients will have the opportunity to offer their employees a way to quit smoking, improving their overall health and lowering healthcare costs for the employer.

“Quitting smoking is a big goal for many people,” says Dave Springer, COO of enterprise at Sharecare. “It costs employers $6,000 for every individual that smokes. The ROI [for employers] can be tremendous if they can get [employees] to quit.”

Tobacco use stands as the largest preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Over 480,000 people die every year from smoking and secondhand smoke; however quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90%.

Smoking-related illnesses cost more than $300 billion annually, including nearly $170 billion in direct medical care and $156 billion in lost productivity, according to the CDC. Over 70% of smokers in the U.S. say they want to quit smoking, but less than 10% succeed without support.

See Also: U-Haul antismoking hiring policy starts fiery debate

Employee wellness is a major concern for employers. Indeed, 58% of organizations offer their staff a wellness program, according to the Society for Human Resource Management.

As such, over the next few months Sharecare will work to integrate MindSciences’ other app-based programs that utilize mindfulness to help people reverse unhealthy relationships with food, stress and anxiety, which contribute to some costly and widespread health issues.

“They have a comprehensive suite that we think is important to address the mental aspects of the craving loop or the habit loop for a number of conditions that are really important to our employer clients,” Springer says.

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