NOVEMBER 11TH, 2021
Over the past decade or so, businesses have become more proactive about managing the health and wellness of their employees.
They have embraced everything from stress-reduction initiatives to programs focused on nutrition and exercise to personalized health consultations with providers. Regardless of the approach, these initiatives are designed with one goal in mind: motivating employees and their family members to make healthy lifestyle changes.
Aside from the benevolent aspect of genuinely caring about their team members and wanting to improve outcomes, companies are also eager to contain healthcare costs. To achieve this goal, businesses are on the lookout for health partners that can help them boost employee engagement, retention, and overall well-being through access to care.
For instance, Intel helped improve clinical care in Portland, Oregon, by sharing its supply chain expertise and “lean” methodology with providers through a Healthcare Marketplace Collaborative (HMC). As a result, the HMC lowered the costs of treating three conditions by 24% to 49%, allowed patients better access to care, achieved high levels of patient satisfaction, and eliminated more than 10,000 hours of waste in business processes.
In many ways, hospitals are perfectly positioned to partner with companies. Employers can tap into the expertise of medical professionals while cutting healthcare costs, and hospitals can grow their commercial revenue via these partnerships. It’s a win for everyone involved.
The idea of employer and hospital partnerships might make sense in theory, but it’s natural to wonder how they look in practice. Hospitals are equipped to provide various services to employers, such as awareness programs, data analysis and information sharing, wellness programs, patient education, and employee health assessments — particularly useful when it comes to COVID-19 testing.
These arrangements are incredibly beneficial for hospitals looking to grow commercial revenue because they essentially open the door to additional partnership opportunities, such as direct contracting or narrow markets. In this increasingly competitive market, employers want to keep costs down. Direct contracting enables hospitals to showcase how they can control those costs, using employee data to project possible care demand, coordinate care, improve patient satisfaction, and plan for the future.
One of the few constants in the healthcare industry is change. As the industry continues to evolve, health insurance plans will likely continue to narrow rather than expand. By partnering with employers in their communities, hospitals can empower consumers to seek care when they need it — not only when they can afford it.
These agreements also make it possible for hospitals to gain a more significant share of healthcare spending. Once arrangements are in place with various employers, hospitals can benefit from incremental revenue growth related to the care of this partner group. There are also opportunities for employers to offer their industry-specific knowledge in ways that might help hospitals make their care more patient-friendly and cost-effective.
Meanwhile, employers benefit from the credibility and expertise boost provided by hospital-employer partnerships. These agreements can help employees feel the value of their health plans with the best access to care necessary to prevent large claims in the future. When employees aren’t hesitant to visit providers for routine checkups, they tend to enjoy better outcomes.
Instead of spending heavily on a top-of-the-line insurance plan, employers can benefit from these lower-cost partnership programs. By motivating team members to take care of their health, companies can boost employee satisfaction, productivity, and well-being while still containing healthcare costs.
Despite these advantages — and numerous others — employer and hospital partnerships have been relatively slow to gain traction. Hospitals have suffered from a lack of engagement with employers because they don’t have dedicated “sales” teams to bring in new and returning patients; they also don’t have the data necessary to find potential patients through market analysis.
People generally view healthcare as a commodity, assuming the care they receive at one hospital is identical to the care they would get elsewhere. Hospitals have a tremendous opportunity to differentiate themselves through these partnerships, showing a genuine investment in the well-being of their communities. Hospital-employer partnerships give providers access to a dedicated source of patients to serve.
In the future, hospitals and employers will both benefit from these types of partnerships. For hospitals that have not explored this sort of arrangement, it might seem daunting to approach large employers and ask to collaborate. To demonstrate proof of concept, these providers can highlight how they deliver high-quality care and satisfy members of their in-house employee populations.
The hospitals that embrace innovation and deliver patient experiences that surpass their competitors will be in the best shape to compete for direct contracts. For employers, it’s a matter of finding the hospitals that best meet their teams’ needs.
Hospital-employer partnerships will only continue to gain momentum moving forward, spurred in large part by the rising cost of healthcare. Hospitals and employers that want to take things a step further can also work with Paytient to empower everyone to afford care.
We have also seen high utilization (i.e., the percentage of eligible employees who used their Paytient cards to pay for care at least once) and repeat use (i.e., the percentage of those members who used Paytient multiple times) within the first 12 months of enrollment in several industries. The chart below offers a few real-world examples.
We give folks the ability to swipe their cards, pay providers in full, and then turn that unplanned or unexpected healthcare expense into a manageable payment plan — always with 0% APR and no fees. And when people don’t have to worry about whether they can afford treatment, they enjoy better access to the care they need.
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