Providing employees with a meaningful and rewarding health benefits experience is table stakes for human resources teams, and there are countless healthcare technology vendors that are best-in-class for what they do, ready to join your roster of benefits providers. But tell us if this sounds familiar: you spend months lining up that roster, sourcing solutions and vendors, encouraging employee utilization, troubleshooting access issues, and yet at the end of the year, when evaluating the impact and outcomes of programs, you are met with a fragmented view of the overall employee experience. You are left to stitch together how your benefits portfolio is performing and determine the net measurable impact on the population health of your workforce.
A quiet paradigm shift taking place in the health tech space can have a big impact for HR professionals. Employer healthcare solution providers that have the best solutions—ones that deliver outcomes for your employees and that are scalable—are also integrating more deeply with each other and expanding the network of employers they serve. Think of this expanding network as a health and benefits partner ecosystem—a concept that has evolved in other industries like technology.
Accolade’s Trusted Partner Ecosystem (TPE), which has been expanding since its launch in 2019, includes traditional health benefits partners offering surgical care, mental health and physical health services, and has grown to include integrated services covering financial advocacy, fertility healthcare, gastrointestinal care, diabetes, musculoskeletal health, health equity and overall well-being.
As you consider healthcare benefits for 2023 and beyond, here are three reasons why you should look for healthcare benefits vendors that are part of a partner ecosystem:
Partner ecosystems integrate the experience for employees on their healthcare journey and simplify the burden on HR teams
Health and benefits solution providers have already done the upfront work of vetting each other for aligned values and the ability to integrate services, making it easier for HR teams to decide if the ecosystem is a good fit. An ecosystem with an advocacy component at the core comes with a built-in extended care team that supports employees through each step of their care journey with seamless hand-offs through points of care. With a reliable partner ecosystem in place, employers have an opportunity to achieve marked increases in employee benefits engagement and utilization as care referrals for multiple health conditions or issues stay within their benefits network. Accolade’s Trusted Partner Ecosystem delivers value to HR teams by simplifying benefits selection, streamlining purchasing and shepherding implementation. In addition, Accolade enables enhanced features that ultimately drive incremental, appropriate utilization of those services.
Partner ecosystems contribute to employee satisfaction and retention
Partner ecosystems consolidate multiple solutions and programs to amplify their collective value toward what matters most. Whether looking to manage costs for a particular chronic condition in an employee population or to provide a benefit like family planning that is important to employees, a partner ecosystem provides a value greater than 1+1 =2 to an employer’s health and benefits portfolio. Research shows that the quality and utilization of employee benefits are key ingredients to creating a sticky employee experience. According to a survey conducted by Savanta, a data, market research and advisory company, 88% of employees reported the quality of their health benefits impacted how long they stayed with their employer.
Partner ecosystems focus on health outcomes and overall well-being
A strong partner ecosystem does not simply deliver a menu of services to your employees but creates an integrated, cohesive and employee-centered healthcare experience focused on delivering value in the form of better health outcomes. Consider this case study of an Accolade member whose journey to better health started with establishing trust with a Care Team member and continued with guided referrals and coordinated hand-offs to best-in-class condition support with our Trusted Partners.
From the very first interaction with Accolade, the member experienced one of the hallmarks of our model—a relationship that starts from a place of compassion and empathy. She was connected with an Accolade Health Assistant, knowledgeable about the benefits available to her. The two built rapport and established trust. The member first received support when she reached out to Accolade to help cope with the loss of a parent. When the member experienced a fall in her home that led to an acute injury, her first instinct was to call Jessica, her Health Assistant on the Care Team. Jessica immediately connected the member with a virtual primary care physician. When following up with the member after the incident, Jessica broached the topic of the member’s diabetes management and referred her to a Trusted Partner who worked with the member on a care plan for managing her chronic condition. She was soon able to stop taking insulin, and within months had lost 60 pounds. Within Accolade’s Trusted Partner Ecosystem, the member’s new and ongoing health needs were supported through cohesive and integrated services, all delivered within the scope of her employee health and benefits plan.
In the absence of an integrated partner ecosystem, this member would have experienced several hurdles, transfers and delays before she received the care she needed. This quiet paradigm shift, ushered in by those building comprehensive ecosystems with a commitment to a quality member experience and outcomes, is transforming the healthcare space and ensuring that the individual is cared for, no matter the health challenge that may arise. That’s the beauty of partner ecosystems—those who stand to benefit from the valuable solutions do not get lost in the increasingly crowded digital health sub-categories.