Business challenge

Whirlpool Corporation had established a pilot medical home program, and it was time to see if the program was working.


The Health Insights solution offered an unbiased, data-driven way to determine program success, from examining impacts on employee health to understanding potential cost savings, using disparate data and a matched cohort analysis.


Verifies a lowered clinical risk

for continuous participants in the medical home program

17% lower costs

on average for participants over four years

USD 3.9 million savings

in potential costs, data suggests

Business challenge story

A pilot program as part of a Culture of Health strategy

To help meet the challenge of increased employee engagement, especially for those individuals with complex healthcare needs, Whirlpool established a pilot medical home program through a partnership with a local medical facility in Findlay, Ohio.

The medical home program, which is a team-based healthcare delivery model, was charged with establishing relationships between patients and participating primary care providers. The intent was to encourage personalized treatment plans using these care partners that would ultimately improve resource utilization patterns, increase adherence to recommended care and improve employee health.

Transformation story

Time for taking stock

Whirlpool leadership knew this type of model would take time to achieve its objectives. Nearing the five-year mark after establishing the medical home program, the company was ready to fully assess the program’s results. Whirlpool turned to IBM Watson Health™ for advice, data integration and analytics, including a powerful data warehouse tool — the Health Insights solution.

The company aimed to use Health Insights, which integrates and transforms data from diverse sources, to evaluate the comprehensive efficacy of the medical home program.

The company aimed to use Health Insights, which integrates and transforms data from diverse sources, to evaluate the comprehensive efficacy of the medical home program.

A matched cohort study

To produce a solid and unbiased assessment, a population of over 1,000 Whirlpool active, COBRA-using and leave-of-absence employees and dependents, continuously enrolled in a self-funded medical plan over a 4.5-year period, was compared to a matched cohort of Whirlpool employees from Ohio who did not have access to the medical home program.

The corporation encouraged information-sharing among business partners to create a collaborative environment within which the evaluation could take place. IBM worked with other vendors to understand data elements, clinical operations and program goals.

Results story

Positive results in costs, risk and utilization

The results of the analysis showed that the medical home program was successful in achieving Whirlpool’s goals:

  • Medical home continuous participants had lower year-five clinical risk than the matched cohort. Lower annual variation and multi-year trend rates indicate medical home participation is positively impacting member health.
  • Participation in the medical home program was effective at controlling admission and emergency room visit rates.
  • Medical home trends for medical and pharmacy allowed amounts, exclusive of high-cost claimants, outperformed the comparison cohort.
  • Average medical home participant costs were 17 percent lower than the matched cohort over four years, resulting in a potential cost reduction of USD 3.9 million. This may be attributable to the medical home program, equaling USD 80 per member per month or USD 960 per year.

The success of this pilot laid the groundwork to explore medical home offerings in other geographic locations and has gained the interest of other employers in the local community.

business logo

Whirlpool Corporation

Whirlpool is a major appliance manufacturer, with approximately USD 21 billion in annual sales, 93,000 employees and manufacturing and technology research centers throughout the world. The company markets Whirlpool, KitchenAid, Maytag, Consul, Brastemp, Amana, Bauknecht, Jenn-Air, Indesit and other major brand names in nearly every country.

About Watson Health

Watson Health is a business unit of IBM that is dedicated to the development and implementation of cognitive and data-driven technologies to advance health. Watson Health technologies are tackling a wide range of the world's biggest health care challenges, including cancer, diabetes, drug development and more.

About IBM Health Insights

This powerful solution integrates data from diverse sources and systems, applies sophisticated analytics and organizes it all to support decision making and flexible access to information. Its applications are linked to an integrated warehouse of medical and prescription claims, encounters, eligibility, lab results, authorizations, health risk assessments and performance measures.

Solution component

Take the next step

To learn more about the IBM solution featured in this story, please contact your IBM representative or IBM Business Partner.