March 12, 2018

Improving the Employee Experience and Health Engagement – Opportunities Abound

By Peggy Fischer

In a highly competitive labor market, nearly 80 percent of employers (>1,000 employees) are seeking to enhance the employee experience over the next three years.¹ And to keep their workforce healthy and productive, nearly 90 percent of these organizations are also searching for ways to improve employee engagement in their health and well-being.²

It might be surprising to learn that opportunities to do both - to delight your employees and improve their health engagement - can be found in any number of routine health and benefits tasks employees undertake every day.

Like selecting a specialist. At some point, everyone needs to do it - for themselves or for a family member. Finding the right provider can be just one of those routine healthcare tasks that takes more time than it should, with any number of possible outcomes. Or, with the right approach, this routine task can be transformed into an opportunity to deliver a great employee experience, improve health outcomes, and reduce healthcare costs - goals all HR Benefits Leaders are striving to achieve as they design 2019 healthcare benefits plans.

The approach? Personalized, high-touch, high-tech advocacy.

Not technology alone. Not service alone. But humans and technology working in concert to transform how employees navigate healthcare and make decisions that impact their health and well-being.

An example illustrates how personalized advocacy works.

Five days a week, Joy arrives for her eight-hour factory floor shift at 6:30am and departs at 2:30pm to pick up her children from school, tending to their needs for the remainder of the day. Finding time to manage her health has been difficult, but she resolves to use her 15-minute break to search for an affordable ophthalmologist. Her eye doctor retired last year, and her vision seems to be getting worse. It's time for an eye exam and new prescription glasses, she thinks.

She gets out her mobile device and launches a price transparency tool provided by her employer. Joy quickly realizes, however, that she doesn't have the knowledge or time to understand and navigate the choices presented to her - such as why one provider is more expensive than another for the same treatment. Not only is she confused about what's covered by her benefits plan, but she also doesn't know enough about pricing to make a decision. She selects a slightly more expensive provider under the assumption that the care will be superior. Or, she gives up and puts off the decision for another day.

Imagine instead that Joy has access to a personal health advisor who knows her and her health history.

She uses her 15-minute break to send a mobile message to her health assistant to get a recommendation. With Joy's complete data profile in front of him, the health assistant knows Joy is at risk for glaucoma. He gently probes for information and discovers she has been seeing intermittent rainbows and halos. He suggests they talk via phone and brings a nurse into the discussion who recommends expediting the doctor visit and finds an in-network ophthalmologist just five minutes from her job. The nurse also discovers that Joy had run out of eye drops months earlier and arranges for a pharmacy to deliver her eye drops to her home, emphasizing the need to use them as prescribed. When Joy visits her new doctor, she's told had she waited one more month, she would have gone blind.

Every call is an opportunity.

Whether a member is searching for a provider, inquiring about an ID card, resolving a claim or addressing any other health or benefit need, every interaction is an opportunity to form a relationship and get people on the best path forward.

It's an opportunity to create trust, influence healthcare decisions, and make a positive impact on the employee-employer relationship, health outcomes and costs - an impact that technology alone can't make.

“Anyone who's had to interact with the healthcare system knows how stressful and frustrating it can be to figure out what to do, where to go and how to coordinate all of the moving pieces,” said Alan Spiro, MD, MBA and member of the Accolade Medical Advisory Board. “Despite all of the great technology advances, there's no app or tool that can guide an individual consumer through everything, especially when they're facing complicated, emotional healthcare issues. For that, you need real, human support.”

You need both: human insight and data integlligence. Learn more about Personalized Advocacy - how compassion, clinical expertise and intelligent technology come together to deliver a personalized employee experience, better outcomes, and lower healthcare costs.

Want to hear more?

Join Accolade President Rob Cavanaugh and Gregor Teusch, Lowe's Head of Total Rewards and Associate Experience, for a discussion about how personalized advocacy can create a differentiated employee experience. Watch the webinar today.


1, 2 High Performance Insights - Best Practices in Health Care, 2017 22nd Annual Willis Towers Watson Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey