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October 19, 2023

Rolling strong: How Marsh McLennan Agency’s intervention helped improve health outcomes for a transportation client

Products and other goods don't just appear out of nowhere in stores across America. They're moved and delivered by thousands of people who spend their days on the road away from home. The lifestyle of a truck driver has its fair share of challenges. A notable impact of truck driving is its effect on the drivers' health.

Long-haul drivers are at higher risk for chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart and lung disease. In a survey by Centerline Drivers, 49% of drivers said that the nature of the job had caused them to gain unhealthy weight. In the same study, 35% of drivers said they turned to fast food to meet vital delivery deadlines. The CDC found that compared to the U.S. adult working population, truck drivers were more likely to be obese, cigarette smokers, and diabetic. The findings suggest that demanding schedules mixed with long hours of sitting, stress factors like traffic, and limited access to healthy food likely contribute to a higher risk for health problems.

One Minneapolis-based transportation client of Marsh McLennan Agency noticed the effects these challenges had on their drivers.

Read on to learn what this client was up against and how in-depth data analysis, compassion, and some outside-the-box thinking lead to healthier outcomes for their drivers.

Combining compassion with data to improve driver health

Drivers make up nearly 73% of the company's workforce. Among this group, chronic illness rates were significant. At the time, the client had standard wellness solutions through their insurance carrier. However, these solutions didn't adapt to the drivers' lifestyles, resulting in low participation.

The consequences of poor health impacted the drivers’ quality of life. In this industry, poor health also affects a driver's right to work. If a company or its drivers don't manage an illness well, they risk not passing their Department of Transportation (DOT) physical exam. High DOT failure rates ultimately impact a company's operations.

Looking for a way to improve the health of their workers, this transportation client contacted their Marsh McLennan Agency representative for help.

The representative contacted Dr. Heidi Orstad, a DNP-RN and Clinical Consultant from the Planning & Analytics for Total Health (PATH) team. The PATH team brings physicians, registered nurses, data analysts, and health and well-being experts together. This team studies client data in a way that helps employers make decisions that reduce health risks among their employees.

To help this transportation client, Dr. Orstad and the PATH team uncovered the conditions that increased risks for drivers. They discovered the drivers rarely participated in their employer’s existing carrier solutions. The client and PATH hand-selected a new team of vendor partners to support their mission. These vendor partners would commit to adapting their services to meet the needs of a truck driver.

Wanting to empower the client's drivers, the team chose a diabetic management vendor that gave a pharmacy cost waiver to drivers if they managed their diabetes with their doctor or diabetic health educator. These drivers saved money while improving their overall health.

A new transportation wellness coach would provide further guidance. This coach met with drivers regularly, helping them manage their blood pressure and weight to improve their health and successfully prepare for and pass their DOT physicals.

The new virtual care provider the team selected would also put accessible care in the hands of the drivers. With this provider, drivers would get 24/7 access to care from anywhere in the country, helping them avoid trips to the emergency room or worse.

Vendors unite to improve driver engagement

Once these new vendor teams were in place, the goal was to simplify access for the drivers on the road.

PATH coordinated a summit where all the vendors would collaborate as one team to seamlessly support the drivers and prevent adverse health outcomes.

For the summit, the PATH team created a digital booklet showing all the solutions available to the drivers through their many vendors. Each vendor could then reference all possible tools whenever they were in touch with a driver. So, when drivers called their diabetic management vendor, they'd also be reminded about their wellness coach.

Tailored solutions for a smoother ride

Today, the PATH team still holds annual vendor summits, adding new partners and tracking outcomes each time. In a year, wellness coaching participation doubled from 115 drivers to over 230, diabetic management participation rose 400%, and participation in virtual care grew 25%. For the first time since 2019, there are notable reductions in driver medical costs and improved diabetic health outcomes.

Learn more about how PATH can help your organization benefit from an analytical approach to chronic health conditions.

Contact a consultant to discover how you can transform your data into prescriptive strategies for your business.