March 12, 2019

Healthcare Consumerism: Are You Delivering a Modern Employee Experience?

By Cari Murray

For decades, our country has been on a journey to a destination we're all eager to reach: consumer-centric healthcare.


U.S. consumers expect the healthcare system to catch up to retail, banking, travel and other industries that continuously improve their ability to cater to the individual needs and wants of each person. We all want a healthcare system that's personalized, convenient, and simple to navigate, access and use — one that allows us to make informed decisions for better health and well-being.

Because of this, HR departments are seeking consumer-centric benefits solutions that promise greater efficiency, better experiences, improved health outcomes and lower healthcare costs for their employees and families.

But even with all the new digital health apps and employee engagement hubs available to employers, we're just not there yet.

Your Employees Want Simpler Healthcare Transactions

According to statistics, the wheels of progress are stuck in the mud:

  • More than 80% of consumers are dissatisfied with their healthcare experiences.1
  • Employees shoulder up to 44% of the healthcare cost burden2 — yet more than half don't understand what healthcare will cost when they purchase it.3
  • 75% of people admit they can't understand their medical bills when they arrive.4
  • With nearly 70% of hospital bills of $500 or less now going unpaid,5 an estimated 40% of healthcare services delivered each year are deemed entirely unnecessary.6

As consumers grow accustomed to simple, streamlined and personalized experiences in other aspects of their lives (think Uber and Amazon), they want the same simplicity in healthcare. It's not just about ease of use — they're also looking for transparency, control and convenience. People want access to high-quality care in close proximity to work or home. And the vast majority of consumers (70%) want to understand the cost of healthcare before they purchase.7

The common thread in a consumer-friendly experience is often technology, so it's not surprising that an explosion of digital health solutions has entered the HR technology landscape. Unfortunately, that innovation boom is not leading to a similar boost in employee engagement and experience.

That's because healthcare is too complex to rely on digital-only platforms.


The Way Forward for Both Employers and Employees

Technology alone lacks the insight and compassion to personalize the employee health and benefits experience. Providers and employers do not have the data nor digital expertise to provide the personalized support healthcare consumers expect and deserve.

You need people plus technology to solve the employee healthcare problem.

To see what that could look like for your organization, read The Path to Healthcare Consumerism Isn't All Ones and Zeroes.

1 GE Healthcare and Prophet, The State of Consumer Healthcare: A Study of Patient Experience.

2 2018 Milliman Medical Index, May 2018.

3 Harris Poll survey on behalf of Accolade, (Feb 2016.), Accolade Consumer Healthcare Experience Index.

4 Considine, J. (8 March 2018), Healthcare Is Catching Up To Modern Consumerism — Is Your Organization Ready?, Health IT Outcomes.

5 LaVito, A. (26 June 2017), Two in three patients can't pay off their hospital bills, CNBC.

6 Main, T. and Slyotzky, A., Oliver Wyman, The Patient to Consumer Revolution, 2014, p. 40.

7 Fernandez, H. (May 2018), The Rise of the Practical Patient: What Do Healthcare Consumers Really Want?