To better engage your employeestoward improved health, they need a more convenient, accessible,and personalized way to manage their health. (Photo:Shutterstock)

|

Most employers agree: a more convenient, digital approach is required to supportemployees' health beyond the four walls of care delivery. But thereare seemingly countless patient engagement point solutions on themarket. How do you choose? How can you meet the diverse needs ofyour employees without overwhelming them with apps, platforms andprograms to manage—especially those managing one or more conditions?

|

For some time, it has fallen on employers themselves to identifyand offer solutions that address the health needs of theiremployees. As a result, your team is left with the time-consumingresponsibility of sourcing and managing numerous vendors acrosshealth and wellness, disease-specific interventions and carenavigation support.

|

But here's the good news: progressive health plans are nowstarting to deliver more holistic and convenient support to employees beyond the fourwalls. Known as digital health management, this new approachtakes more of the burden off of employer benefits leaders whiledelivering enhanced employee experience and outcomes. Getting theseservices from the plan allows for tighter integration with plandesign, providers, and health care data.

|

Related: How to design an engaging employee wellnessprogram

|

Benefits leaders looking to achieve digital health managementsuccess are smart to partner with health plans that can deliverseveral capabilities.

Help employees better navigate the health system

Eighty one percent of employees who can easily access theirbenefits said they feel loyal to their employer, according to aThomsons Online Benefits Global Employee Benefits Watch report. Butgiven the complexities of the health care system, it can bechallenging to schedule appointments, get financial andadministrative questions answered, get support for chronicconditions, or guidance following a hospital discharge. As aresult, employees may postpone care, make choices that are not costeffective, and feel frustrated with their benefits package.

|

To reduce employee frustration and help them better understandand utilize their benefits, consider working with health insurersto implement a coordinated, unified concierge service.

The health plan digital concierge approach

Help your employees spend less time on hold. The digitalconcierge is accessible by mobile app, and provides your employeeswith a single resource to address their diverse needs. Theconcierge develops a trusting relationship to help match employeesto appropriate healthcare resources, whether accessing urgent care,finding a specialist, getting to an appointment or more.

|

Health plans with a digital concierge are able to integrate theworkflows of care management and customer service, which gives themthe unique ability to capture key metrics on consumer actions. Theresult? Your organization can better forecast what employees need.And employees can provide reviews through surveys, creating a forumfor data exchange that empowers them to better control theirhealthcare. These new functions create a shift in how employeesfeel about the management of their healthcare.

|

The digital concierge is a scalable way to engage moreemployees, while giving them options to get support through theirpreferred communication channel. Instead of overwhelming youremployees with health communications and outreach, the conciergehelps streamline outreach from providers, the health plan, and yourthird party services to deliver a better experience.

|

Additionally, this approach can help employees receive moreeffective, personalized support. Progressive health plans arestarting to segment and target employees not by claim group butrather by social and behavioral conditions. This approach, combinedwith a new recruitment strategy to engage members, can lead tohigher adoption rates and greater employee satisfaction.

|

By focusing first on the needs of the employee, the health plandigital concierge approach builds trust through human relationshipsin order to better influence engagement and health outcomes in thelong run.

|

Meet employees where they are

To better engage your employees toward improved health, theyneed a more convenient, accessible and personalized way to managetheir health.

|

Follow these strategies to ensure your health plan can offer anexperience that drives employee engagement and satisfaction.

|

1. Deliver omnichannel engagement. Noone likes playing phone tag. That's why employers should expecthealth plans to provide health management support through acombination of phone calls, messaging, apps, web, and video chat soyour employees can choose the method that meets their needs in themoment. Mobile messaging ensures flexibility and accessibility, soyour employees can respond on their own time, rather than duringbusiness hours.

|

2. Provide a personalizedexperience. To help employees better managemedical conditions, avoid a one-size-fits all approach to patienteducation. Instead, make sure your health plan can deliver dynamic,adaptable health programs with videos, digestible articles,reminders, and more health guidance designed to suit the individualneeds of each employee.

|

3. Build trusted, supportiverelationships. An effective health managementsolution should give employees daily, long-term support from realclinicians, rather than intermittent outreach. Your organizationshould also consider utilizing a non-clinical engagementspecialist, also known as a Health Advocate, to offer ongoingemotional support and encouragement through mobile messaging. TheHealth Advocate can work with the employee over time to set andtrack progress toward specific, measurable actionable, relevant,and time-bound (SMART) goals.

Support the whole person to get better results

It's estimated that approximately 80 percent of health outcomesare determined by non-medical factors such as behavior,environment, and socioeconomics. In other words, your employees'health happens at home.

|

In an attempt to address these numerous health factors, manyorganization employ a number of standalone point solutions, such aswellness programs, texting services, or condition-specific apps,like diabetes programs. According to a Wellframe survey, on averageorganizations manage between four and nine different digital pointsolutions. But instead of helping employees reach their healthgoals, this approach risks leaving them overwhelmed or confused byoften overlapping services.

|

To improve your employees' experience, reduce absenteeism, and differentiate your benefitspackage, make sure your health plan delivers holistic support thatencourages employees to adopt a new perspective on all the factorsthat contribute to their health.

  • Support multiple conditions in a singlesolution. One in four Americans have multiplechronic conditions, according to the CDC. But mostcondition-specific point solutions, such as diabetes apps, can'taddress the overlapping symptoms your employees may experience.Instead, make sure your health plan offers support for multipleconditions in one solution, like diabetes, hypertension, and more,as well as transitional care.
  • Address mental and physicalhealth. People with a medical illness orcondition are more likely to suffer from depression. But thereverse is also true: Anxiety and depression are risk factors forother illnesses, and drive higher incidences of heart disease,diabetes, stroke and more conditions. To support your employees'whole-health needs, it's crucial to deliver behavioral healthsupport alongside condition-related guidance.
  • Reinforce lifestyle changes. To meettheir health goals, most employees also need support for weightloss, nutrition, and exercise—tangible lifestyle factors they canmeaningfully change to improve their health. Providing usefulinformation to help them shop for healthy foods, track theirphysical activity, and more, within the context of their clinicalcondition, will help employees understand how therapeutic lifestylechanges can have a positive, direct impact on their health.

Your organization shouldn't have to bear the burden of managingnumerous outsourced services and vendors that address slivers ofhealth management. Instead, employers should demand more from theirhealth plan partners, who are in the best position to deliver thesesolutions in a holistic and integrated fashion.

|

Employers who partner with progressive health plans can staycompetitive in a tight job market, control costs, and engageemployees toward better health by delivering the followingcapabilities: help employees navigate the complexities ofthe health care system; meet employees where they are withconvenient, digital, and personalized support; and support thewhole person across chronic conditions, mental health and wellnessto achieve better results.


Read more: 

Jacob Sattelmair is CEOof Wellframe. His work and expertise lie at theintersection of healthcare, technology, data analytics and consumerengagement. He was previously Product Manager at RunKeeper, aleading mobile/web health and fitness platform. 

|

 

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com
NOT FOR REPRINT

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.