Even though school’s out, employers might want to consider giving employees a test over the summer. Prior to open enrollment, employers can use this time to assess their employees’ readiness for and engagement in their health program. Getting a better understanding of how committed employees are to maintaining their personal health, search for a doctor online, ask about the cost of a procedure, understand key insurance terms, etc. will help determine their level of healthcare consumerism.
According to a 2016 Employee Benefit Research Institute (EBRI) study, 73% of people who experience rising health care costs found that their best defense is to try to take better care of themselves. Research has also shown that high consumer engagement correlates to better health status and cost consciousness.
Organizations can use a brief questionnaire to measure their workforce’s level of engagement in several areas to determine what tools they need to better enable and support them in their healthcare efforts. Additionally, it provides companies with benchmarking data that they can use internally as well as externally against other organizations’ employee populations.
Benefit Magazine touched on this topic in a “Grades Aren’t Just for Providers” June article. Measurement tools provide a way for organizations to refine their strategy and execution. The article offers three ways of using measurement data to increase employee motivation and employees’ healthcare consumerism skill sets.
Deploy the Right Consumer Tools
Everyone has a different starting point of their understanding and use of healthcare. Vendors provide all different type of tools to help guide individuals through the enrollment process through to finding a provider. Using engagement data to help deploy the right type of tool, which in some cases may even be making available a health care advocacy counselor for one-one help, can produce more confident decision-making across the company.
Additionally, developing the right set of tools to help employees reach their personal best health can be achieved by using engagement scores to determine which products/tools to use with various groups. For example, for employees with chronic conditions a digital health tool that prompts them to monitor their condition and sends an update to their physician can produce better health outcomes through this type of management system.
Personalize Healthcare Information & Communication
An employer that measures engagement now has the ability to fill-in the gaps and meet employees’ specific needs with tailored communication.
Low engagement scores might suggest that these employees would benefit from frequent, yet short clips of information through video, print and email to encourage awareness and motivation. While highly engaged employees need specific direction and are ready for example, of the details about who to compare costs and quality of knee surgery at three local facilities.
Utilize Financial Strategies
Employees’ attitudes and abilities to participate in various healthcare programs will help steer employers toward their workforce achieving these desired outcomes. The move to HDHPs has created the need to focus on engagement efforts that center around understanding current and future healthcare costs.
Employees will need the right incentive to move beyond their comfort zone and talk about price with their provider, which can greatly impact their out-of-pocket costs. Financial incentives can also be strategically aligned to guide employees through the participation of a range of educational and wellness program activities. Again, engagement scores can inform organization’s where, how and what to incentivize with various groups of employees to encourage reasonable healthy behaviors and participation.
Source: Benefits Magazine. Grades Aren’t Just for Providers: Measuring Consumerism to Improve Health Care Strategy. June 2017. PP 42-47.