Big Health reports findings from a health economic evaluation of Sleepio, its digital cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBT-I) program.

The study was conducted at a self-insured Fortune 500 company, in collaboration with IBM Watson Health, and Laurence Baker, PhD, a health economic consultant. Baker also holds an appointment as a professor of Health Research and Policy at Stanford University.

The study compared two groups of employees—a group of Sleepio users and a matched control group—and compared their respective healthcare costs over an 18-month follow-up period. The results demonstrated 28% lower total healthcare costs in the cohort of Sleepio users, as compared to the matched control group.

“Our goal is to help our customers improve the mental health of their employees whilst lowering costs,” says Colin Espie, PhD, DSc(Med), co-founder and chief medical officer of Big Health, the makers of Sleepio, in a release. “These striking results demonstrate that, under rigorous study conditions, our evidence-based digital therapeutics can lower healthcare costs for our customers.”

The study assessed baseline healthcare costs for 1,102 employees (551 Sleepio users and 551 controls) during an initial 12-month timeframe, before Sleepio was accessed, and then compared annualized healthcare costs after an 18 month follow-up period. At follow-up, the Fortune 500 company spent on average $1,677 less, or 28% lower annualized per-employee costs for those using Sleepio compared to the control group. The results were even more striking in specific healthcare categories: for example, Sleepio users had 93% lower inpatient medical expenditures and 79% lower number of days in acute admissions, versus their non-Sleepio using peers.

“I’m excited to see these findings on the cost effectiveness of Sleepio,” says Peter Hames, co-founder and CEO of Big Health, in a release. “Studies show that poor sleep affects one in five people in the US, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the stresses of COVID-19 are increasing that number—and the costs associated with it. This study provides more compelling evidence that Sleepio offers a cost and quality win-win for our clients and their employees.”