Jason Parrott is senior vice president of enterprise growth and partnerships at Vida Health. Views are the author's own.
As healthcare costs skyrocket, the industry is moving to a new model founded on evidenced-based care, which results in better outcomes at a lower cost. Employers are taking note and steering workers to high-performing health providers that work on a value-based model.
What is value-based care and why does it matter?
Value-based care models measure patient outcomes against the cost of delivering those results. Providers are rewarded for helping people improve their health, prevent and reverse chronic disease and make healthier lifestyle choices. Employers who partner with value-based care providers benefit from a healthier and happier workforce — all at a lower cost.
How value-based care impacts an employee
Value-based care can greatly influence employees' health — and finances — in five key ways. It:
- Promotes better health. Value-based care models take a proactive approach to promoting health by preventing chronic disease from progressing and helping people recover quickly from accidents and illness.
- Engages employees in their own health. Using data-driven strategies, providers invite people to engage more in their own health. Often using digital solutions, people can track their blood sugar levels, weight, steps, and other measures to take more control of their own health. As a result, they tend to feel more satisfied with the quality of their care.
- Reduces ineffective treatments. Value-based care strongly emphasizes quality over quantity of medical services. Employees can be confident they're getting evidence-based care and not undergoing needless procedures or taking unnecessary medication to gain health.
- Lowers costs. Because of this emphasis on quality over quantity, employees spend less money on doctor's visits, tests and procedures. Value-based agreements also correct prescription drug costs, aligning them with positive outcomes and reduced cost.
- Encourages healthier habits. Value-based care zeros in on prevention by engaging people with their health in a positive way. Employers can participate by rewarding employees for instilling healthy habits like exercising, eating well and quitting smoking.
How does value-based care compare to a fee-for-service model?
Traditionally, the fee-for-service model has been the primary payment method for healthcare in the United States. In this model, doctors and hospitals charge separately for every service they deliver, and the patient or insurance company is responsible for paying those bills — regardless of treatment outcomes.
With value-based care, on the other hand, cost is driven by outcomes. Prevention is more naturally rewarded — and we know prevention is worth a pound of cure. Value-based care is a more sustainable, cost-effective, and patient-centered approach to care.
In a value-based care model, an employee with a chronic condition like diabetes, for example, would be under the care of an integrated team to prevent complications of the disease, from a health coach to a primary doctor, working in tandem to support that employees' specific physical and mental healthcare needs.
Why employers should look for value-based partnerships
Employers need a healthy, happy and productive workforce to reach their highest goals, so it's in an employer's best interest to partner with healthcare providers who deliver measurable results for their employees. Employees who are burdened by chronic health conditions and mental health challenges often aren't able to bring their best selves to work. Networks that provide integrated care — addressing both physical and mental health — support employees in their whole health. This affects not only company morale but also the bottom line.
In a post-pandemic world, workers are more motivated by high-value benefits than in-office perks. In order to attract and retain the best talent, employers should seek partnerships that help their employees gain health and balance in their whole lives, not just in the office.