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Healthcare Innovations for Employers to Watch in 2021

Navigating the winding road of healthcare innovations


Companies with fewer than 500 employees may not feel like they have access to all of the healthcare innovations that the big enterprises do. But thanks to the way that digital transformation is reshaping every aspect of healthcare, smaller organizations have more access to innovative solutions than ever before.


From benefits administration to app-based care and mobile options to telehealth, digital solutions are giving companies of all sizes more choices and better control over how they spend their healthcare dollars.


Here are the top three healthcare innovations small businesses should be on the lookout for in 2021.


Digital Benefit Administration 

One of the most cost-effective healthcare innovations for employers is going digital when it comes to benefits administration. Many small employers still use paper to enroll in or make changes to benefits--and all of that paperwork leads to not only an error-prone process and additional work for benefits managers, but also extra costs for the employer.


Many employers are still using paper simply because they have not had time to investigate options or could not afford an automated solution to benefit administration. But with the rise of web-based benefits administration systems, the cost and complexity of these systems have become more affordable and accessible, especially when provided through their healthcare broker or consultant. These platforms can automate much of the work involved in administering benefits and plans, significantly reducing administrative burden and freeing up HR managers’ time so they can focus on other more strategic initiatives to help control costs and retain talent, such as wellbeing and employee engagement


Employees also tend to be more satisfied and engaged with the employer’s plan when they have on-demand access with the ability to electronically enroll and manage their benefits at a time that is convenient for them. Employees and their families can make better decisions, especially when it comes to plan comparison details and healthcare enrollment.


Mobile Options and App-Based Care

The number of mobile solutions and app-based care options is increasing exponentially. Smaller market companies can take advantage of these options to help drive down care healthcare costs while still offering tailored solutions to their employees.


Even something as simple as offering a mobile option for insurance cards can help streamline access to care for employees and save benefits managers time and money. E-cards allow employees to have access to their I.D. cards, plan benefits, and claims information 24/7, all pulled up on a mobile app. Employees have access to the information they need when they need it, and benefit managers don’t have to worry about sending them replacement cards or emailing them claims and benefits information when a health event occurs.

Being able to complete tasks on-the-go and having access to real-time information has become a necessity, not a luxury. 

Employers should expect positive trends in access to mobile healthcare. Mobile solutions and digital apps enable employees seamless access to information that allows better decision making in healthcare.  Employees will engage in quality of care based on new approaches to address overall engagement and wellbeing.  Mobile apps are more important than ever before and can help with improving employee productivity and satisfaction.



Telehealth is a feature of a medical plan that provides on-demand care, allowing an employee to virtually chat with a doctor or otherwise virtually access care instead of a doctor’s office. Video conferencing, smartphone apps, and online management systems increase cost-effective efficiencies in connecting employees’ tools, resources and providers more than ever before. The cost of telehealth options has dropped significantly, making it a more cost-effective option for employees and their family to conveniently access digital healthcare services. 


The data shows that employees who utilize telehealth options have positive experiences and see it as a value-add to their plan. But it’s important for employers to communicate effectively about this option with their employees to increase utilization and benefit from the cost-saving telehealth offers.


Wrapping Up

Today’s workforce is always connected, whether in their personal lives or at work. The healthcare industry has capitalized on our society’s need for on-demand access to information and has brought a variety of solutions to employees. In partnership with their healthcare broker, HR Managers and executives need to evaluate how to best utilize the variety of on-demand and mobile options that exist in order to meet the unique needs of their population. If implemented correctly, small businesses will find not only great efficiency and reduced administrative burden but more engaged employees.