As 2019 gets underway, all signs indicate a continuing pace of change across many areas of the healthcare system. This recent article on Stat argues that, of all the many stakeholders in the healthcare system, employers are best positioned to champion positive transformation. We couldn’t agree more, and were pleased to see how well the article aligns with Mercer’s vision for employer-driven healthcare transformation -- our four “Vitals for Change:
- Drive to Quality: Employers can take steps to align provider and member incentives to promote health care quality – which will translate to healthier, more productive employees as well as cost savings. In 2019, what more can you do to promote higher quality healthcare for your employees and their families? Consider ways to give members greater access to information about provider quality that exists today, or participating in initiatives that aim to make quality efforts more transparent overall.
- Pay for Value: The article explores how employers have historically used their role, leverage and buying power to keep costs from rising even faster than they have and to maintain coverage stability for their employees. In 2019, what can you do to further control healthcare costs by aligning reimbursement with value, not volume? Consider pushing your health plan partners to improve or expand their pay-for-value strategies, or identifying opportunities to participate in multi-payer payment reform initiatives.
- Embrace Disruption: Employers have already demonstrated that they can be both nimble and innovative in addressing problems in the health system. As the article states, “technology and new approaches to care are giving employers greater control over their health care investments than ever before.” We would argue that the time is right to push the envelope on an ever-expanding range of disruptive strategies. In 2019, what can you do to embrace change for the benefit of your employees, your organization and your bottom line? Consider participating in local or reginal business groups on health or becoming more active and purposeful in the groups you’re in.
- Personalize the Experience: Having personally delivered health care to consumers over the course of a long career, the article’s author reminds us that, in the face of rapid change and exciting new opportunities, we must never forget the most important health system stakeholder of all – the end consumer. In 2019, what can you do to make your health strategies and programs more relevant and accessible? Consider talking with your healthcare vendors directly about the importance of the member experience in your shared programs, and conducting deep-dive analyses to understand the different segments within your own workforce.
Here’s to a great year of collective change and transformation!