Digital tools that help guide employees through their health care journey

The companies that will win in the battle for talent and employee retention recognize their employees’ greater needs, says Ashley Blankette, Vice President, Digital Product Management & Experience.

“They acknowledge that people are at their best and most effective when their larger life purpose and wellbeing are honored and supported,” Blankette says. “That means employers need to consider how their employees’ holistic physical, mental and social needs are met. But connecting with the right support and solutions is challenging in the current health care environment.”

It’s challenging because employees are often not familiar with nbmor aware of the health care programs and benefits available to them through their employer-sponsored health insurance, says Valerie Clarke, Vice President Product & Experience Delivery, Highmark Health.

“They’re not sure how or who they can connect with to help guide them to the available resources,” Clarke says. “That often means they either struggle to manage an aspect of their care on their own or aren’t aware that it’s something they should be managing.”

Fortunately, health plans are increasingly creating digital tools to make connecting with health care resources much easier.

Smart Business spoke with Blankette and Clarke about solutions that make it easier for employees to navigate their health care journey.

How do employees typically engage with their benefits?

An employer, health plan, providers and associated entities typically work to engage employees proactively in their health care journey, helping them seek the care they need. Employers are often the primary way employees learn about their health plan engagement options.

The more traditional engagement tactics used by employers include working with an HR rep through various communication channels in a workplace setting, whether in person, or through email or video conference. Employers also can work with their health insurance carrier to aggregate the benefits of their program into a digital experience. These increasingly have all of the program benefits as well as personalized insights that could drive employees to engage in helpful programs throughout their health care journey.

How can employee engagements be better facilitated?

There had been, for many years, a lot of fragmentation in the solutions offered by health plans on behalf of employers. Employers make the buying decisions for their employees, doing so with the biggest potential employee problems in mind. But all of those many solutions meant employees might have multiple places to get care, support and information, which could be confusing and lead to a lack of adoption. Now, new digital experiences are bringing all of those offerings together in one place, which enables employees to get not only what they need, but also connect to information about other offerings that may interest them and lead them to engage in other ways. For example, Highmark’s digital app and web experience, My Highmark, brings the various ‘point solutions’ into one simple platform.

These solutions also offer personalized insights that leverage the data health plans have to build a powerful notification engine to nudge someone to a solution that supports their ultimate needs — often a program that they may not otherwise have known was available.

Why is it important for an employee to be engaged in their health care journey?

An employee who is engaged in their health care journey is seeing a clinician as needed, or is guiding the care of another in the family as a caregiver. They’re engaged with programs that supplement their provider relationship to make sure they continue to get the mental and physical care they need based on their personal or family situation. They make informed decisions and take positive actions that improve or maintain their current health, or prevent future health issues. But to be engaged, they need support. That can be made available through simple, personalized digital solutions that integrate access to benefits, health programs and relevant data, giving members the resources and tools they need, when they need them. ●

INSIGHTS Health Care is brought to you by Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield

Ashley Blankette

Vice President, Digital Product Management & Experience
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Valerie Clarke

Vice President Product & Experience Delivery
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Learn more about the tools employers can use to help facilitate their employees’ health care journey.