The Cost-Saving Power of Health Care Data

It’s a common-sense, widely held business principle: What is not measured cannot be managed or improved. Yet, while your company likely captures and analyzes data about everything from your website’s performance to travel expenditures, you’re probably not doing the same for one of your largest expenses: health care. 

The oversight could be costing you. A recent study from Willis Towers Watson examined the practices used by companies with high-performing benefits strategies. Among top-performing businesses, 53 percent were using data to analyze their health benefits, compared to just 34 percent of other firms. That’s part of the reason the study found these top-performing companies spend, on average, $3,548 less per employee on health care than other companies.


You Can’t Impact The Past: ↑ Advocacy + ↑ Quality = ↓ Cost

Thursday, May 20, 2021, 2:00 PM ET / 11 AM PT

Unlike most things, healthcare services have an inverse relationship between cost and quality: the better the quality, the lower the cost. Unfortunately, the current health benefits market is completely opaque and lacking any meaningful, realistic transparency. Additionally, we have always been taught that easy = better when designing health benefits programs for employers and their employees. However, the cost and quality of healthcare can vary dramatically within the same city. Utilization Management for example, where your members access healthcare, is one of the single most important additions to your health plan design.

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With the right data in hand, your business is better able to:  

  • Encourage behavior change. Data can show where plan participants are opting for expensive name-brand prescriptions over cheaper generics or using emergency rooms for urgent or routine care. You can then provide education to employees and adjust their benefits plan to drive them toward more affordable options.  
  • Mitigate risks. Analysis of current health care expenditures can help you pinpoint the most common or expensive diseases and conditions in your workforce, such as diabetes or hypertension. You can then provide tailored resources to help your employees better manage their conditions, preventing them from escalating into costly medical emergencies.  
  • Identify trends. Over time, data can show whether your wellness program or other initiatives are having an impact. If your company has numerous locations, the numbers can also reveal which locations might need more or different support than others, so resources and wellness initiatives can be adjusted accordingly.