Break through the barrier of benefits fragmentation
Integration overcomes challenges to drive engagement
By Arthur “Abbie” Leibowitz, M.D., F.A.A.P., Chief Medical Officer and Founder with West’s Health Advocate Solutions
As healthcare costs continue to rise, organizations are seeking strategies to help improve the health of their workforce as a means to better manage these costs. Further, surveys show that benefit leaders partner with an average of four to six different vendors in their benefits and well-being programs. Yet despite offering a number of programs, many employers still face challenges engaging employees to take steps toward better health.
Health Advocate has always been at the forefront of introducing solutions to make healthcare easier. As you know, ongoing changes in healthcare have further complicated how employees interact with and utilize their health and benefits, which can negatively impact costs and outcomes. In order to address these challenges, Health Advocate is embarking on a transformation toward a new, even more integrated approach that optimizes and streamlines existing benefits offerings to more effectively engage employees in their health.
With new product packages, Health Advocate is creating the framework to shift from a traditional standalone approach to an integrated matrix of services. This multifaceted model can improve employee health and well-being, enhance engagement, increase productivity, and tackle some of the primary issues that drive healthcare costs. And utilizing advocacy as the cornerstone of that strategy ensures employees have a single place to turn for help.
Integration Counteracts Fragmentation
When an issue arises, employees are often confused about whom or where to call for help, leading to frustration. Dealing with the healthcare system can mean spending hours on the phone during the work day, reducing productivity and costing employers time and money.
Interconnecting employee benefits with one number to call or one platform can make the process more seamless for the employee and ensure benefits are used more effectively, saving time and money for the employer.
For example, for an employee with a chronic condition like high cholesterol, regular screenings with a healthcare provider, good nutrition and exercise, and appropriate medical treatment are critical to effective care. However, many people do not cover all the bases necessary to care for their chronic conditions on their own. Integrating benefits enables organizations to identify at-risk employees and provide interventions such as personalized reminders, access to coaching, periodic health screenings and other strategies to address gaps in care and better engage people in their healthcare.
Data Addresses the Big Picture
As Health Advocate has introduced new solutions, integrating these programs with advocacy and incorporating data has been shown to increase engagement to an average of 40 percent and reduce the medical cost trend.
Leveraging data is the first step toward an integrated approach to benefits. Working with benefits providers like Health Advocate to implement a package that connects key components on the back-end, while creating a seamless experience for employers and employees on the front-end, can have a significant impact on satisfaction, costs, outcomes and engagement.
To help its clients achieve this goal, Health Advocate introduced its new member website and app in early 2017, which further streamlines this integrated approach by connecting many of the employees’ benefits in one easy-to-access place. We continue to evolve the platform to enhance the member experience, adding features like single sign-on with other providers, mobile push notifications and more.
Integrating benefits offers numerous advantages to organizations and their employees. By simplifying access, employees are able to maximize their use of benefits, which can increase workplace productivity and benefit their employer. Adopting an integrated model also ensures benefits services are used more efficiently, resulting in improved health outcomes and reduced costs for both employees and employers.