It’s time to reimagine how we access healthcare
COVID-19 has presented historical challenges and stresses on our healthcare system. But the truth of the matter is that, for far too long, healthcare is often complicated. In this period of disruption, the time is ripe to reimagine how we provide more streamlined access and engage health plan members differently.
For many employees, navigating employer-sponsored benefits can be confusing and at times frustrating: one-off apps and solutions provide a fragmented experience hindered by multiple sign-ins, forgotten passwords and other barriers that all add up to low engagement. A recent survey by the Business Group on Health found that 43 percent of employer-sponsored health and wellness programs go unused or underutilized, while another survey from the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans found that 50 percent of people just do not understand their benefits. This frustration is shared by employers who are footing the bills for these benefits.
Even for someone like me who has worked in this industry for more than 30 years, navigating the healthcare system can be difficult. As the President of Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah, I’ve talked with many people about these very issues. Two clear actions stand out: We must rethink our approach on how we guide employees through the healthcare system, and we need to develop new tools and approaches to help them make the most of these offerings.
A new all-in-one solution for accessing and navigating care
But there’s reason for hope, courtesy of a promising new solution geared towards helping employees get more value from their benefits and saving employers money in the process. Called Journi, this unique health platform combines data, innovation and human support in one easy-to-use, integrated package. Here’s how it recently helped my family.
My daughter is a type 1 diabetic who lives out of state. Recently she needed help making an appointment, and of course, I was her first call. Rather than doing the research myself, I asked her to contact a Journi Care Guide by using her favorite medium of communication: text. Whether your preference is text, phone or email, Care Guides adapt to your needs so you can concentrate on other tasks and remain productive in your normal life events. The Care Guide sorted through her options and quickly scheduled a visit with an in-network provider.
But the truly amazing thing happened after the appointment when my daughter asked for a claims review and the Care Guide discovered that she was overbilled for her visit. The Care Guide then did all the legwork with the clinic to resubmit the claim, ensuring that we received the proper discount. All in all, we saved hours of frustration and hundreds of dollars with a simple phone call and text message exchange.
If this sounds like a parent’s dream come true, imagine the value it could provide HR professionals. These do-it-all resources are often the go-to information hub for anything benefits-related. Journi could provide a lifeline to help employees navigate these questions about benefits and care.
Re-engaging employees in health and wellbeing
While healthcare engagement and wellness has long challenged employers, the truth is that this problem is compounding as a result of COVID-19. The pandemic has presented a host of new or elevated care issues around testing, treatment, depression and other mental health issues.
I worry about the Utahns who are delaying or forgoing needed care, and our provider partners share my concerns. A solution like Journi can be a bridge to support people’s evolving needs during these unprecedented times, helping them find testing sites, schedule medical appointments, coordinate prescriptions, deliver emotional and behavioral health support, and address any other health-related questions and concerns. More engaged employees result in a healthier workforce, and longer-term savings for employers.
COVID-19 has changed many aspects of our lives, including making employee health and well-being even more top of mind for employers. While many digital health tools exist to address siloed parts of healthcare, our employees deserve support that provides a more comprehensive, personalized and simpler experience with the help of a human touch. With new solutions like Journi that rethink how we interact with our healthcare, we can focus on employee well-being at-home, in the office, and anywhere in-between.