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WEA Trust Reduces Spend by 56% and Opioid Use by 87% with Kiio Digital Musculoskeletal Care

WEA Trust and Kiio released the results of an updated and expanded claims data analysis evaluating the impact of Kiio’s digital musculoskeletal (MSK) therapeutic on medical utilization and cost of care for low back pain. Overall, Kiio participants had a 56% lower combined medical and pharmacy spend as compared to the traditional care group. This is the fourth claims study proving Kiio’s ability to reduce medical and pharmaceutical claims related to chronic MSK pain.

The large, longitudinal study compared a year’s worth of claims from Kiio participants (N=656) to a control group receiving traditional MSK care for low back pain (N=27,465). The study results demonstrated statistically significant lower utilization and spend in the Kiio group, including lower use of urgent care services, diagnostics, and procedures:

  • 90% lower use of urgent care and emergency
  • 67% lower use of radiology (X-ray, ultrasound, nuclear medicine)
  • 58% lower use of advanced imaging (MRI, CT)
  • 52% fewer surgeries, spinal injections, and radio frequency ablation procedures

Similarly, the claims study found significantly lower utilization of pain medications (as measured by days’ supply) in Kiio participants, including opioids:

  • 87% lower use of opiate agonists
  • 70% lower use benzodiazepines
  • 70% lower use of analgesics & antipyretics
  • 49% lower use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory agents

Given the clearly established link between chronic pain and mental health, the study also evaluated pharmaceutical utilization of antidepressants. Kiio members had 47% lower antidepressant use than WEA Trust members with a low back pain diagnosis who did not participate in Kiio. “With COVID compounding mental health challenges and causing members to delay appointments, the impact of Kiio’s effective pain management on not only physical but also mental well-being is critical,” said Tim Bartholow, MD, WEA Trust Vice President and Chief Medical Officer.  

Bartholow continued, “WEA Trust believes in taking a leadership role to high-value, innovative care delivery models like Kiio that provide members with immediate access, convenience, and supported control over their health outcomes. With Kiio, we’ve been able to help members reduce pain and improve quality of life while lowering costs for both our members and our employer groups.”

Kiio participants who ranged from age 19 to age 93 saw an average 48% reduction in pain. Mary Hughes, Vice President of Medical Affairs, shared, “Our main objective is always to improve member health and experience. This is exactly what we are seeing with Kiio, while also dramatically lowering medical costs.”

Kiio has a proven track record of delivering both short- and long-term value to its members and its health plan and employer clients. More than 60% of members have less pain within one week of using Kiio, and 92% say they would recommend Kiio to a friend.


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