The need to reduce exposure to the excise tax is challenging employers to find new ways to slow health-benefit cost growth. That’s accelerating the pace of innovation in the health care market. Investment in digital health comes in at just over $4B annually, according to the most recent annual report from Rock Health. Just where is that money going?
Analytics and big data, health-care engagement, medical devices, telemedicine, personalized medicine, and population health management top the list in terms of areas of funding focus. And, in terms of year-over-year growth, telemedicine, payer administration (fraud detection, third-party payment, and portal management) and digital therapies (for example, devices to help patients manage diabetes) have seen the biggest increases. The good news is that if you're looking for innovation in any of these areas, there are a lot of new players and solutions out there for you to evaluate. Of course, the bad news is that if you're looking for innovation in any of these areas, there are a lot of new players and solutions out there for you to evaluate.
Here are five tips to help you navigate that process:
- Figure out where you want to focus. You can’t take on the whole world and trying to implement several new solutions at once will probably lead to mediocre launches for each.
- Get comfortable with the leadership and the day-to-day teams for each new partner. Think long-term: Does this relationship have the ingredients for a happy marriage or a disastrous divorce? Pick partners where you like and trust the team that you’re working with, even when you’re going through tough times.
- Research what users are saying. Net Promoter Score (NPS) has emerged as a new (but not perfect) metric for evaluating customer satisfaction. Ask your new potential partners what their NPS is — most have developed or are in the process of developing the feedback loops to track and report this.
- Be prepared for some bumps in the road. Innovation is fast, smart, and iterative. New partners learn and improve by making mistakes. But it’s important that they should be transparent and take responsibility for their errors and put processes in place to improve or avoid them the next time around.
- Plan for three years and reevaluate. Strategic plans aren’t meant to last forever. If something doesn’t seem viable for five years or beyond, that’s actually OK if it meets near-term goals. Put plans into place that make sense for the next several years and you can always monitor and reevaluate after a couple cycles.
Innovation is an important component of your Excise Tax Survival Kit. New solutions hold a lot of promise to help manage, reduce, and slow the growth of health care costs. But many of these new partners are in their infancy and they need to be nurtured with the help of thoughtful and collaborative partners. Since you have limited time and resources, where are you focusing your innovation efforts?