Stressed Out: Are We Heading For Health System Burn Out?

Between 4%-19% of health spending can be attributed to stress-related conditions, according to a new report published by Cigna and Asia Care Group.

The report, titled Chronic Stress: Are we reaching health system burn out?, examines the impact of stress-related conditions in Australia, Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The research demonstrates that this proportion of healthcare spend translates to one of the largest single areas of spend facing health systems today. As many as 25% of hospital admissions, 19% of emergency department attendances, 35% of primary care visits, and 12% of outpatient attendances are likely to be the result of conditions driven by stress. This is a significant burden on all parts of health systems, at a time when they are already overstretched, and costs are expected to continue to rise.

Annual Costs of Stress and as a Percentage of Total Health Expenditure:

Australia US$22,911 million 19%
Hong Kong US$3,758 million 17.6%
Singapore US$2,342 million 18.0%
South Korea US$13,083 million 11.0%
Taiwan US$4,648 million 13.0%
Thailand US$717 million 4.3%
United Arab Emirates US$1,866 billion 12.8%
United Kingdom US$14,794 million 6.2%
United States US$133,200 million 4.0%

"Employers, healthcare leaders, payors and hospitals can do much to help reduce the impact of chronic stress. This report makes recommendations on how to help prevent stress-related conditions, ensure effective treatment, recovery along with better monitoring and evaluation.

"Our ambition is to help people change their behaviour and to start their own ‘stress care’ to highlight that by taking care of stress they are potentially avoiding serious, chronic illness which can develop from un-managed, chronic stress," continued Mr Mengual.

The reports are available here: