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Why mental health and DEI matters for your benefits strategy and organization

Not providing equitable whole person care — physical and mental — can be costly. Accolade has a solution.

January 12, 2022 | 5 min read

Two seemingly disparate health-related matters can dramatically impact your organization’s bottom line. Both areas are important — and have a different effect on your business. 

People’s mental health as well as the diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) policies of your organization play a role in everyone’s job performance, productivity and engagement.

These topics are becoming more of a concern for employers all over the United States. Mental illnesses, such as depression, can lead to higher rates of unemployment and disability. [1] Meanwhile, the DEI of your organization will impact the healthcare experience, outcomes and costs for your business.

In short, not providing equitable whole person care — physical and mental — can be costly. 

Accolade has a solution.

Virtual mental health and primary care

We understand the challenges people face when trying to access quality primary and mental care. This has propelled us to take a new stance on how to fix the current system. One way we are doing this is with Accolade Care.

Download the Accolade Care e-book

Accolade Care is a forward-looking view of healthcare based on a collaborative care model. It’s focused on paving new ways for people to access healthcare and improve all-around wellness.

We believe that integrated physical and mental health is necessary to improve outcomes and needs to be accessible to everyone. 

Our virtual-first, collaborative care approach includes primary care physicians (PCPs), mental health therapists, nurses, care coordinators and psychiatrists working as a united team to support your people. Together, they actively engage each person to help them live their healthiest life.

Our teams are diverse so that we can meet people where they are. We inform our teams with insights from data and AI systems to understand each member’s barriers to care and social needs, which are disproportionately experienced by socially or geographically marginalized groups.

We then deliver an evidence-based model of care called contextual care, using our proprietary training model to meet those needs and ultimately unlock better care outcomes for those who need it most.

Reduce your healthcare costs

Let’s be honest — getting quality primary care and mental health support shouldn’t be so hard. With Accolade Care’s collaborative model, we’re making it easier for people to gain access to the care they need, when they need it. We’re also providing an opportunity for organizations to save money on healthcare costs at the same time.

After implementing Accolade, our customers spent an average of 3% less on healthcare costs. Before implementing Accolade, our customers spent about 5% more per member, per year on healthcare than a matched control group. 

Offering equitable healthcare leads to healthier populations that require less medical care and fewer doctor’s visits. Which means less healthcare spending per patient and better health outcomes for your people and business. 

Have better outcomes — support mental health and DEI

Studies show that collaborative care models are effective when it comes to controlling costs, improving outcomes and boosting patient satisfaction. [2] And virtual collaborative care is quickly expanding as a healthcare model of choice: the global consulting group McKinsey reports that healthcare models are moving from a single-point of service — for example, urgent care — to encompass a wide range of services, with the highest uptick in virtual specialty care around psychiatry and substance abuse. [3] 

Our collaborative care model offers an expansive network of providers and treatment options. People can get same-day appointments or simply speak with a 24/7 Care Team member to find out where to go for what they need. This puts people at the center of care and allows them to be more present and productive at work — which means better outcomes for your business. 

Increase productivity

Virtual primary and mental care are reshaping the healthcare landscape. 

As part of the collaborative care model, we’ve eliminated the silos between physical and mental health. We don’t look at these as two disparate concerns; rather, we view them through a single lens and embrace the idea that physical and mental health are inextricably intertwined and impact and influence each other. When mental health professionals coordinate with PCPs, it becomes clear why collaborative models will be the new standard in healthcare. [4] 

“Let’s say you have a patient with diabetes and depression. If they’re tremendously depressed, they’re going to have a hard time checking their blood sugars, maintaining a log or being compliant with their medication,” said Dr. Brian Wong, medical director of population health at Accolade.

“This illustrates that physical and mental health have a symbiotic relationship and can’t be treated separately.” 

This symbiotic relationship also applies to people’s personal and work life. Mental and physical health impact one another and people’s productivity levels at work. To ensure the highest productivity, it’s important to acknowledge and support everyone as whole people

Different approach to mental health and primary care

We believe healthcare is a human right. However, not everyone experiences the healthcare system equitably. Health equity needs to be built into care by understanding what is unique about each person and their circumstances.

We strive to close the gaps that people experience across the healthcare system due to their community, race, socioeconomic status — and other factors. Health equity is a core principle for everything we develop and deliver to our members. 

People are our number one priority. We believe in lifelong relationships with each person and their family, in sickness and in health. The mental health and DEI of your organization are imperative to provide a holistic healthcare experience. By supporting your people, in turn, your business will receive better outcomes and reduce costs.

Schedule a demo today to learn more about Accolade Care and the positive impact it can have on your business and people.  

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/workplacehealthpromotion/tools-resources/workplace-health/mental-health/index.html 

[2] https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/professional-interests/integrated-care/learn 

[3] https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/healthcare-systems-and-services/our-insights/telehealth-a-quarter-trillion-dollar-post-covid-19-reality 

[4] https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/professional-interests/integrated-care/learn

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