July 8, 2009

(SAN FRANCISCO, CA) Researchers announced that using Posit Science(r) brain fitness programs can reduce healthcare costs by approximately four percent while producing better health outcomes. These results would amount to savings of more than $10 billion a year if applied to 44 million Medicare members.

The report was published online in a leading peer-reviewed health services research journal, BMC Health Services Research. It is part of a multi-site study funded by the National Institutes of Health and known as the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) study.

Participants in the study were divided into three intervention groups and a no contact control group. The intervention group received training in reasoning, memory or processing speed and each received a total of 10 hours of training over a six-week period. Participants have now been followed for more than five years.

The ACTIVE study team had previously reported that participants who received the speed of processing training had significantly improved health outcomes, as measured by a widely used instrument assessing health-related quality of life, known as the SF-36. In this report, researchers used a model recently developed by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to predict healthcare costs, based on massive correlation of actual healthcare costs to SF-36 scores.

The researchers found that a year following training for just 10 hours, with the brain fitness software, now owned and marketed by Posit Science, participants had predicted healthcare costs that were $244 less per patient than in the control group, after adjustment for differences in the groups (or $223 on an unadjusted basis.) The differences between the groups were statistically significant and only the group using the Posit Science software showed significant savings.

“Our results have important health policy relevance,” said Frederic Wolinsky, PhD, of the University of Iowa who was lead author on the article. The reduced costs were equal to about three-to-four percent of annual healthcare costs for Medicare patients at the time of the study.

Even five years later, with no further training, trend data indicated that those patients had lower predicted healthcare costs, by about $143 less per year (or $128 on an unadjusted basis.)

“This data indicates that we can have better health outcomes at significantly lower costs,” said Henry Mahncke, PhD, vice president of Research at Posit Science. “It also suggests that ongoing brain fitness training benefits not just the individual, but the entire healthcare system.”