Show your employees a better way to wellness, productivity, and healthcare cost-containment

The Internet has changed how we find answers to many of our problems including our health.

Online searching of serious healthcare issues is a complex activity and can wield inconsistent and unhelpful results. There is a growing effort to provide patients, employees, and members of insurance groups with quality information when they go to the web to search.

Employers have an opportunity to help their employees access reliable, data-driven, trustworthy information that reduces anxiety, increases productivity, and leads to reduced insurance liability.

Here are three ways to do it.

1. Embrace technology

The most reliable primary data employees can access about their own health is data they collect through the use of technology. Wearable healthcare technology is on the rise and is a game-changer in terms of symptom-monitoring, fitness tracking, and following progress toward health improvement.

Plus it’s fun and can be a renewable source of motivation. Wearable technology allows employees to compete with themselves toward health improvement and engage in friendly competition with co-workers. There’s nothing quite like an ever-present watch, bracelet, or ring to prompt you to make progress towards your fitness and health goals.

Our smartphones, too, can almost be considered a wearable device, because they are always with us. And with our pocket computers comes an array of amazing healthcare apps that produce reliable personal information as well as symptom and disease management.

2. Direct employees to patient portals

Employees may be unaware of the access they have to their own health records. Use of patient portals is on the rise, but is still hovering below 50 percent, according to a recent Athena study. That is up from two years ago, when Athena reported the adoption rate at lower than 30 percent.

Different providers have different levels of commitment to introducing and encouraging the use of patient portals. Employers can fill in the gap and level the playing field for their employees by showcasing the value of patient portals and assisting employees with startup.

A first step can be a simple email to invite employees to create logins and profiles on their provider network’s portal.

Go further by hosting a patient relations specialist from the network to speak with employees about the capabilities of the portal and provide a tutorial. Typical capabilities include:

  • Access to electronic health records
  • Access to lab results
  • Billing information and payment
  • Cost-per-procedure information
  • Scheduling

Encourage continued use by keeping how-to documentation readily accessible and the subject of follow-up emails. Periodic email reminders can maintain participation over time and capture new employees who haven’t been introduced to the portal.

Also, make sure employees have reliable access to the network’s patient relations staff for help as questions arise.

3. Provide treatment guidance and follow-through tools

In the digital age, evidence-based treatment guidance is now available remotely to employees. Return to Health is a user-friendly way to engage employees in their treatment plans and create a path to recovery that starts at the symptom level.

The online platform provides guidance on the effectiveness of various treatment options, the timeline for recovery, and transparent cost comparisons. The result is a patient-created treatment plan that maximizes follow-through and minimizes ineffective tests and treatments.

These methods of engagement leverage the innovations of healthcare technology to empower employees to take more control of their health and achieve the improved outcomes that benefit both employee and employer.

Let us know what you think.

Thank you,

Max Kahn