Three areas where you are (likely) lacking engagement

Friday, December 13, 2019

There are several simple Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s) that can help to determine whether you suffer from a lack of engagement in your health and benefits program.

KPI’s are measurable values that demonstrate how effective a company is achieving a key business objective. In this case, let’s assume the objective is to maximize the ROI available through your benefits program. Let us start in just three areas to explain:

  • Are you seeing the utilization of Telemedicine of less than 10%?
  • Are you seeing the utilization of any Medical Advocacy or Concierge programs of less than 30%?
  • Are you seeing active contribution participation your Health Savings Account (HSA), or Flexible Spending Arrangements (FSA) of less than 30%?

If you answered yes to one or more of the questions above, there is opportunity to better engage members on your health plan.

But why these items?
Telemedicine, Advocacy/Concierge programs, and FSA’s/HSA’s are some of the most common items in a modern benefits program. All of these are intended to provide added support and/or convenience to your membership. If we aren’t maximizing these, what’s the point of going further?

Let’s just focus on telemedicine & virtual care.
Telemedicine has without-a-doubt captured curiosity and buy-in from carriers and employers, nevertheless, they rank as low as Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) in utilization. Why is that?

  1. 2018 SHRM Employee Benefits Research Report.
  2. Increasing Employee Assistance Program Effectiveness and Utilization: New Approaches and Emerging Trends.
  3. Telehealth Continues Rapid Growth but Regulatory Barriers Persist. SHRM, 2017. https://www.shrm.orgresourcesandtools/hr-topics/benefits/pages/telehealth-growth-barriers.aspx

Telemedicine utilization data is sparse. The National Business Group on Health indicated that among the 148 large Employers surveyed, 20% of groups saw utilization of 8% or more. The 20% shows the companies with the highest utilization, putting realistic utilization closer to 3% overall on average.

Let’s break this down more statistics.

  1. 2017 Survey of Physician Appointment Wait Times and Medicare and Medicaid Acceptance Rates.
  2. Companies respond to an urgent healthcare need: Transportation, New York Times.
  3. PLOS One – Overtreatment in the United States, 2017.
  4. BMJ Quality and Safety Journal

Patients wait, on average, a month to receive care. Once they finally get an appointment scheduled, 1/3 of patients can’t make the appointment due to transportation issues. After finally seeing a physician, an employee has a high likelihood of being over-treated or becoming sicker from germs in waiting rooms, exam room, or doctor themselves.

Looking at the barriers in receiving quality, timely care, why aren’t employees embracing Telemedicine? There are many reasons, but it starts with engagement.

The prime candidates to use a Telemedicine program are those with children, those managing a chronic condition, those who live in rural communities, as well as those who live busy lives. How much of your workforce can we capture with just these individuals?

Telemedicine tends to see a higher rate of adoption among younger workers, but that to is changing. Younger employees see video chat as almost a 2nd nature form of communication, and tend to have less concern about sharing information electronically. Equal opportunity awaits in the more seasoned workforce though.

Have you seen a grandparent facetime with their grandchild? Were you surprised when your parents started to follow you on Instagram, or talked about a lively discussion in their Facebook group?

When you start to put the story together, several items start to become clear:

  • The easy part is implementing the program, as it has likely already been done for you.
  • Telemedicine can be a powerful tool, when utilized effectively.
  • There is a clear need for many Americans, yet they lack the understanding to take advantage of it.
  • There is room for improvement in how employees are engaging in your program.

Will telemedicine solve all of your problems? Absolutely not. However, utilizing a resource like telemedicine to help Employees get a leg-up on their healthcare concerns, can help to pay dividends when it comes to appreciation, morale, and even an ROI for your benefits program.

If you enjoyed this blog, you can read more on our Employee Engagement in Healthcare eBook.

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