The term employee well-being is a phrase that has become synonymous with any great workplace. In fact, for over a decade, large employers have spent millions per year on employee well-being programs, with some spending an average of $762 per employee per year on incentives in 2019 alone . The anchor, and most incentivized of these well-being programs being screenings; a double-edged sword that is both one of the most effective ways to empower employees to manage their health, and one of the hardest activities to drive engagement.
As COVID-19 continues to impact how consumers interact with healthcare; we ask the question, in this altered version of our new ‘normal’, how can we re-imagine the future of corporate wellness screenings to increase engagement and lower costs?
Rethinking corporate screening strategies
There are significant challenges with today’s approach to corporate screenings. Employers are spending large amounts of time working with vendors to coordinate onsite events and drive awareness - all to offer a single test option. These efforts aren’t returning engagement - research shows that 70% of people who should be screened aren’t getting screened .
Even before the new reality of COVID-19 restrictions, 64% of people indicated either cost or time-related challenges stop them from being healthier. Given the current experience of taking time to travel to appointments and wait in line, it’s no surprise that employers have had difficulty motivating employees to engage in in-person screenings. A large majority of people, approximately 76%, are prioritizing ease of access over actual human interaction with healthcare providers .
Taking these changes in consumer demands and behaviors into consideration, it’s easy to understand why COVID-19 greatly accelerated the adoption of telehealth services. In February 2020, 0.1% of primary care visits were telehealth visits for the Medicare population (65+), and by April 2020, 43.5% of primary care visits were telehealth .
How we screen for health and wellness needs to be re-imagined to meet the new consumer expectations of easy access to virtual care. Additionally, with many employees working from home indefinitely, if employers want to drive engagement and cost savings, we cannot accept the status quo.
It’s an understatement to say that 2020 had an unprecedented impact on employer health plan strategy. Amid the many challenges that we are still facing, there have been some key learnings and bright spots. One of these is the tremendous growth in the use of virtual services. Bart Demaerschalk, medical director for synchronous services at Mayo’s Center for Connected Care, noted that 'The COVID-19 pandemic has essentially accelerated U.S. digital health by about 10 years.'
People are using virtual health care services like never before – and they are having good experiences due to the improved cost and convenience of these options. As a result, we expect increased engagement levels to be sustained even as we eventually return to normal.
Certain areas of health care are more suitable to virtual solutions, and screenings are near the top of that list. Well-being strategies were disrupted in 2020 when onsite screening events could not happen. It’s forced employers to rethink their approach. Available to make home screening as clinically viable as an onsite event. When you factor in the improved convenience, cost, and potential reach of home screening, we expect to see employers migrate to virtual screening solutions within their well-being programs.
- Sean White, First Vice President, Alliant Insurance
A new approach to corporate wellness screenings
What do employers need to consider in a diagnostics platform partner?
Ease of use
To experience unmatched engagement in the ‘new world’, employers need a diagnostics solution that employees can engage with easily, from the comfort of their own home.
The power of home testing is undoubtedly its reach. With an at-home solution, you can reach people who traditionally have not engaged with preventive medicine services (from cholesterol testing to STI screenings), and lower the barriers to accessing high-quality laboratory diagnostics. Employees no longer have to worry about making it to appointments or checking in with an onsite doctor and, employers don’t have to spend time coordinating events and driving engagement.
To realize cost savings, employers must consider moving from a standard biometric screening strategy to deploying a personalized screening approach that proactively identifies high-cost conditions such as pre-diabetes, diabetes, and high cholesterol, as well as colon cancer screening.
Take diabetes for example; around 1 in 3 American adults, approximately 88 million, have prediabetes, with nearly 84% unaware of their condition . The economic impact of prediabetes alone is substantial: estimated to be $43.4 billion in 2017 . The need for programs to manage diabetes at an early stage, and other high-cost conditions, are crucial in the quest to controlling costs.
To close gaps in care, employers should explore utilizing a diagnostics platform that can provide end-to-end support via telehealth and e-prescription services, where appropriate.
There is a short, yet critical, window where a patient who might not have engaged with medical screenings before, receives a result from us. This can be a springboard to a longer conversation about lifestyle changes that might help someone improve their wellbeing.
Using our digital and telehealth platforms, patients can plan their next steps, whether that is further testing, telehealth consultation, or information to enrich their own primary care physician consultation. This streamlining of services will empower employees to easily manage their health on an ongoing basis and help employers avoid potentially unnecessary costs.
Virtual health diagnostic platforms work. A leading health plan partnered with LetsGetChecked to achieve two goals:
- Increase engagement by making it easier for members to receive colorectal screenings
- Save money by reducing over-consumption via the number of members that need to visit the doctor for a colonoscopy
LetsGetChecked proactively sent over 11,000 colorectal screening kits to the health plan’s members, which resulted in 4 times the engagement they had experienced prior to partnering with us.
LetsGetChecked is already being utilized by hundreds of leading organizations around the globe. If you are interested in finding out more about the role LetsGetChecked can play in your company, you can email our Inside Sales team on email@example.com or call (315) 515-5571.
- Health Payer Intelligence. Large Employers to Average $3.6M on Wellness Programs in 2019. Online: Healthpayerintelligence.com
- McKinsey & Company, Consumer diagnostics market research.
- McKinsey & Company. Telehealth: A quarter-trillion-dollar post-COVID-19 reality?. Online: McKinsey.com
- HHS. HHS Issues New Report Highlighting Dramatic Trends in Medicare Beneficiary Telehealth Utilization amid COVID-19. Online: HHS.gov
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Prediabetes. Online: Cdc.gov
- American Diabetes Association. Understanding the Economic Costs of Diabetes and Prediabetes and What We May Learn About Reducing the Health and Economic Burden of These Conditions. Online: Care.diabetesjournals.org