Think about it: employers shell out $880 billion on healthcare coverage for half the U.S. population. That’s 180 million people. And employees, in this tight labor market, are demanding even more in the way of provisions. And anyway, healthy employees make for a healthy bottom line.
The rub is that healthcare costs keep going up, and market forces accelerated by the pandemic have companies seeking ways to provide generous benefits while keeping costs at a minimum. One way to unlock value is through health innovation, which also favorably affects employees and improves outcomes.
Here’s what you should know about health innovation as part of a benefits strategy – and more.
Reinvention for Value
Quality versus cost must be rebalanced by reinventing for value, a term that meshes what your employees value, the value of healthcare provisions, and the value of benefit partners chosen. Organizations that “get” this dynamic come up with overall valuable benefit plans.
Making health innovation part of your benefits strategy can result in quality, accessible, and affordable care that increases employee engagement and productivity.
What are Trends in Health Innovation?
Many of the latest trends in healthcare innovation derive from the pandemic and the hike in the number of people working remotely, even as some employees head back to offices. Digital health technologies cost organizations $31 billion last year as scores of employees utilized services electronically. Within the next four years the global market for telehealth is expected to more than double.
As it is, the use of telemedicine rose significantly between 2013 and 2019 – even before the pandemic. During the worst of COVID-19, telemedicine utilization increased by 8,336 percent over the previous year. That’s significant, since six in 10 organizations said that at least one-quarter of their employees would continue to work remotely after pandemic restrictions lifted.
There are other healthcare trends including virtual-first health plan offerings, in-home care, and a fresh look at “leave” polices as the pandemic continues to evolve.
Actions Organizations Can Take to Make the Most of Innovation
For one thing, organizations can ensure that healthcare innovation is data driven. They also can better manage vendors and develop an actionable program for performance evaluation.
Organizations can also reinvent through innovation by providing quality healthcare, more personalized healthcare, and more and better digital care. In this evolving landscape, companies can also begin the adoption of new care models.
What’s more, organizations should think about new ways to navigate health and benefits, provide creative perks, make behavioral healthcare a part of plans, and prioritize diversity, equity, and inclusion.
Indeed, making health innovation a part of your benefits strategy is just smart business during this time of disruption as employers seek to balance escalating healthcare costs with the need to recruit and retain talent. After all, thriving employees are more productive.
The global healthcare benefits consultant Mercer can work with your organization to take advantage of innovation to rebalance the equation and deliver better-quality care at less cost. Indeed, we found that Mercer has the experience and deep knowledge to pull it all together.
For one thing, Mercer’s Center for Health Innovation works alongside organizations of all sizes to co-innovate and advance healthcare collaboratively. And insights from the center’s dedicated innovation team aren’t restricted to any markets or communities. In fact, the team has a presence from coast to coast. By establishing relationships among like-minded groups and other entities, disciplines can translate ideas to the betterment of your organization … as well as your employees.
Don’t get behind the curve here. Make health innovation a part of your benefits strategy.