Send to

Choose Destination
J Manag Care Spec Pharm. 2019 Dec;25(12):1442-1452. doi: 10.18553/jmcp.2019.25.12.1442.

Actionable Real-World Evidence to Improve Health Outcomes and Reduce Medical Spending Among Risk-Stratified Patients with Diabetes.

Author information

Aetion, New York, New York.
Division of Pharmacoepidemiology and Pharmacoeconomics, Department of Medicine, Brigham & Woman's Hospital, Boston, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration, Pharmacy Strategy and Clinical Integration, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Newark.
Department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration, Pharmacy Strategy and Clinical Integration, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Newark, and Rutgers State University of New Jersey School of Pharmacy, Piscataway.



Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is a chronic condition with a high economic burden as well as drug treatments that have not all demonstrated effects on longevity. Managed care organizations want to improve health outcomes in these complex patients but lack actionable evidence to make informed decisions on which therapies are most effective among their members and may also control total health care spending.


To produce actionable evidence by identifying antidiabetic treatments that are effective and may reduce total cost of care in various risk groups of patients with T2DM, using insurance claims data that includes medical claims and pharmacy dispensing data among members of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey with T2DM.


We identified patients with T2DM in longitudinal claims data from Horizon between 2014 and 2017 with demographic and enrollment information, inpatient and outpatient diagnoses and procedures, and pharmacy dispensing. Outcomes included myocardial infarction, heart failure (HF), stroke, percutaneous revascularization, health care services utilization, and plan costs (i.e., medical, pharmacy, and total cost of care). After propensity score decile adjustment on over 20 covariates, we evaluated the effectiveness and safety of second-line antidiabetic treatment that included sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors, sulfonylureas (SUs), dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists.


Among 115,308 members with T2DM, the most common comorbidities were cardiovascular risk factors, including hyperlipidemia (56%), hypertension (50%), and existing cardiovascular disease (CVD; 55%). Among members receiving dual antidiabetic treatment (n = 20,204), the most prevalent treatments were metformin plus the following second-line medications: SUs (42%), DPP-4 inhibitors (29%), SGLT-2 inhibitors (10%), or GLP-1 receptor agonists (3%). Approximately 20% of members accounted for 79% of total cost of care, with an average of $9,605 per member per year (PMPY). Compared with SU initiation and after propensity score decile adjustment, new users of SGLT-2 inhibitors had a reduced risk for HF hospitalization (HR = 0.35, 95% CI = 0.13-0.89), hypoglycemia, albuminuria, microvascular disease, and metabolic failure. Among SGLT-2 inhibitor initiators with established CVD, the savings in total cost of care compared with SU initiators was $5,520 per member over an average treatment duration of 6 months and an approximate savings of $11,000 PMPY if patients persisted on treatment for 12 months.


In the Horizon membership, we confirmed that SGLT-2 inhibitors reduce HF hospitalizations, resulting in reduced medical spending and savings in total cost of care. Regulatory-grade analytics of local data provided the confidence to encourage increased SGLT-2 inhibitor use to produce better outcomes and save total cost of care despite higher pharmacy spending.


This research did not receive outside funding; however, Aetion has since begun a contractual relationship with Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey. Garry, Petruski-Ivleva, Cheever, and Rajan are employees of and have stock options in Aetion, a company that makes software for the analysis of real-world data. Eapen was an employee of Aetion during the implementation of this study. Rassen is an employee of and has ownership interest in Aetion. Murk is a consultant to Aetion of which he owns equity. Schneeweiss is a consultant to WHISCON and to Aetion, of which he also owns equity. He is the principal investigator of investigator-initiated grants to the Brigham and Women's Hospital from Bayer, Genentech, Boehringer Ingelheim, and Vertex. Gambino is an employee and officer at Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey. He was recently appointed to a board observer position at Aetion, as Horizon has small equity interest in Aetion. Jan is an employee of Rutgers State University and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey and has no conflict of interest or association with Aetion or any pharmaceutical company. Jang and Rubin are employees of Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Jersey and have no conflict of interest or association with Aetion. This work was presented as a poster at AMCP Nexus 2018, October 22-25, 2018, in Orlando, FL; as part of a continuing education session at the AMCP Managed Care & Specialty Pharmacy 2019 Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA, March 25-28, 2019; as invited podium presenter at the Blue Cross Blue Shield 2019 National Summit conference in Grapevine, TX, April 29-May 2, 2019; and was accepted for a podium presentation at the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) 2019 annual conference in New Orleans, LA, May 18-22, 2019, where it won an award for Best Podium Presentation.

Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy
Loading ...
Support Center