Study Advocates Managing Health-Care Costs By Industry

One way to manage health-care costs is to analyze claims to determine what medical conditions provide the greatest opportunities for medical health-care management. A nationwide study of 4 million medical claims released recently by the Institute for Health and Productivity Management (IHPM) in Irving, Tex., found that coronary artery disease is the costliest in total medical payments in the U.S. and that its costs are nearly three times as high as either of the next two most-expensive medical problems nationwide -- disorders of the gastrointestinal tract and hypertension. The study also reveals that frequency and cost of medical conditions vary widely by industry. For example, breast cancer ranks as the third-costliest condition for the retail trade industry, while not appearing in the top 10 for manufacturing. The data support IHPM's case that disease management must be done on an industry-specific -- if not company-specific -- basis and address the particular needs of each work force.

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