As healthcare costs continue to rise, employee affordability issues increase and the healthcare system remains agonizingly complex, employers are looking to new approaches and strategies to manage costs while improving population health. Increasingly that means designing and building a custom ecosystem with best-in-class solutions to address employer-specific challenges.
Whether it’s condition-specific care programs, support for finding the best providers or tools to support wellbeing and work-life balance, “bundling” everything with one vendor may not be the most advantageous approach today. One-size-fits-all healthcare strategies are becoming a thing of the past — especially in the current environment of rapid innovation and hyper-personalization.
Building and managing a custom ecosystem can generate breakthrough results, but it can also be confusing and challenging.
Here’s how you can put together a high-performing network of pragmatic solutions and create your own best-in-class ecosystem.
Curating Your Employees’ Healthcare Experience
Curating a quality healthcare experience for your employees begins with a clear understanding of your company’s own challenges, cost-drivers and goals.
Start with the data. Whether it’s claims data, data from surveys or focus groups, or data about unmet health needs within your population, let it drive your decisions.
When you’re considering which solutions to pursue, the data will help reveal what solution will move the needle on a key issue or condition for your employees.
Using the data available to you — and collecting more if needed through focus groups and employee surveys — helps identify what makes sense for your population and creates a framework for evaluating next steps. As you evaluate vendors with well-tested, measurable outcomes, seek out those that can advance your goals rather than the newest, flashiest innovation.
This framework will also help avoid overlapping solutions that might work at cross-purposes with each other. Examining all of the available data can help you avoid redundancies or unnecessary spending, and also leads to a more holistic and satisfying employee health experience.
Mapping Your Best-in-Class Ecosystem
Once you’ve used data to identify the best solutions for your population, you’ll need to connect the elements of your ecosystem.
Understanding the vendor and program landscape is key. There are no one-size-fits-all vendors, programs or approaches to creating a best-in-class ecosystem. Some solutions work for a tech-savvy population; others require a more person-to-person approach.
Each vendor will offer something that makes them unique, but how well does that align with your population’s needs? Whether it’s diabetes, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal, health coaching, fertility or any other health need, effectively creating a best-in-class ecosystem means finding the vendor that best meets the needs and demographics of your population. Knowing your employees’ needs helps you navigate the landscape of options available.
But mapping your ecosystem doesn’t just mean understanding the universe of vendors or programs. It also means connecting the elements of your ecosystem in a user-friendly way.
How do you create an easy-to-use system for your employees, connecting them to the services they need when they need them? Solutions including digital hubs, health advocacy programs and navigation tools can allow you to create an integrated and connected ecosystem that can deliver value beyond the sum of its parts. Finally, those employers that deliver a world-class experience have always been successful at requiring all vendors to willingly and fully integrate with each other.
Creating Accountability Across Your Ecosystem
Once you’ve created your ecosystem, it's just as important to continually measure its impact on cost, utilization, outcomes and overall employee satisfaction. Without a clear sense of the value delivered, you may fall prey to buying sleek new tools that ultimately fail to meet the needs of your employees.
Having clear goals for individual vendors and overall shared goals across your vendor ecosystem creates accountability for everyone — and ensures you’re getting the results you need.
Ultimately your ecosystem strategy should be based on your data and a comprehensive strategy for meeting your goals. The design, construction and ongoing maintenance of your best-in-class ecosystem must fit your larger objectives, not the other way around.