How employers can leverage data for positive impact

By Higginbotham on September 19 , 2019


You can’t run a healthy business without a healthy workforce. However, maintaining a roster of healthy employees is a constant challenge, especially when you consider that about half of all adults have one or more chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease.

Getting employees to be proactive about managing their medical care is one of the biggest hurdles. And it’s a crucial part of keeping health care costs down and keeping your workforce healthy.

In order to truly impact the health of the organization, measure program success, see a tangible return on investment and contain cost, it's essential to implement a health risk management program. The program should actively engage your employees, make them aware of their current health status through preventative testing and possible risks associated with unhealthy behaviors, provide education to promote behavioral change and offer the measurement of tangible results for both the employee and the employer. But where do you start?

Enter Big Data

Using data to study employee behavior and make better business decisions isn’t exactly a new concept. But technology has advanced so dramatically over the last few decades, the sheer volume of available data continues to explode. Need proof? Do a Google search on the term “Big Data” and you’ll come up with a quarter of a billion results!

The problem is that, by itself, Big Data is, well, just big. It’s cumbersome. It’s confusing. And it’s useless.

You probably have hundreds of pieces of data about your health plan. But without making that data actionable, it’s just a pile of dry statistics.

Health Care Data Analytics are Key to Driving Decisions

To use data to get your employees engaged with their health care, analytics is the name of the game. With data analytics, employers can now analyze and leverage data in previously unimaginable ways, using what they learn to improve the design and delivery of their benefit offerings and reduce overall health care spending.

Analyzing data provides a powerful marketing tool, feedback on what is working and what needs attention. Baselines for outcomes measurement include medical claim costs, employee morale and participation rates. The type of wellness program and the availability of reporting will determine the criteria for goals, objectives and program measurement.

Like a static wire needs a spark to conduct electricity, static data needs the energizing charge of analytics to bring it to life and drive organizational decisions.

But better employee engagement is just the beginning. Data analytics is a widely versatile tool that can also help you:

  • Identify trends
  • Target high risk employees
  • Identify gaps in care
  • Steer employees to the best providers
  • Measure vendor performance
  • Uncover cost-sharing strategies
  • Investigate waste, abuse and fraud
  • Gain a competitive edge by enhancing your benefits package

In short, data analytics can help you make better decisions by allowing you to drill down and ask more specific questions, such as:

  • Which health conditions are likely to affect my workforce the most?
  • Where can my employees get the best medical care at the best rates?
  • Which employees are at risk for becoming seriously ill, and how can I identify them and direct them toward early treatment?

ROI from Health Care Data Analytics

While every company is different and your mileage may vary, seeing a positive ROI from data analytics depends on actually using the data to drive business decisions. And although data analytics has historically been available only to larger employers with the staff and the technology to make it work, that’s no longer the case. With health care costs increasing and research attributing 75 percent of all health care costs directly to preventable chronic health conditions, health risk management is more important than ever.

Ready to explore how data analytics can improve your benefits game? Our Wellness & Health Risk Management (HRM) team can assist in the implementation of customized health risk management programs. Talk to our HRM services team today.

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Tags: Employee Benefits


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