What does care engagement mean in the space of employee benefits? Care engagement can mean different things depending on the lens you are looking through, so it’s easy to get confused. Clinicians view it from their point of view, as do patients, as do the sponsors of employee benefit plans.
For the purpose of this piece, we’re going to focus on employee engagement with benefit plans. Employees who are engaged in their benefits are often better consumers, achieve better outcomes and are generally more satisfied overall.
How does an employer achieve optimum engagement? There is no one single answer. Instead, there are multiple areas that should be considered and the employers who find the most success are often concentrating on all of them.
Here are some key areas to consider:
Do people fully understand their plans? What is their incentive to understand and engage in the details? Do they understand the terminology being used and the cost implications? Do they understand the alternatives when choices are made available?
How effectively do people communicate with their doctors? Are they taking advantage of electronic health records and patient communication portals? As a patient, do they feel empowered to ask questions, challenge answers, and seek out alternatives? What programs are available to individuals with prevalent or chronic medical conditions?
Are people engaged in their own health and wellness? Are they getting regular checkups and benchmarking themselves against normative data? Do they understand their own health profile and personal risk factors? For those managing chronic conditions, are they compliant with treatment guidelines and are resources available to improve adherence?
What kind of financial incentives are motivating people to engage? Plan designs, consumer tools and participation rewards each have their own unique value proposition and human psychology plays a role in what motivates people to act. Careful thought should be given to programs and how they are communicated in order to promote engagement.
Do people understand the resources available to assist them? Are they being encouraged to use and explore their options? Getting started and understanding where to begin can be overwhelming. Whether it is someone who wants to improve their health or something more serious like navigating a major medical issue, it’s important to surround yourself with people and resources to help you achieve the best possible outcome that aligns with your treatment goals.