The model program shows how effective use of technology drives increased patient (health system employee) engagement and utilization, improved care, and reduced costs in a large healthcare system

Ivor Horn ivor.horn@accolade.com
Sukanya Soderland Sukanya.Soderland@oliverwyman.com
Dale Prestpino dale.prestipino@pwc.com

Abstract

A large healthcare system that employs a mix of unionized workers, service professionals and clinicians needed to find a solution to more cost-effectively utilize care. Designed into their benefits plans as a lower-cost option, utilization of the health system’s health care service is intended to ensure employees receive the highest quality of care cost-effectively. Nevertheless, many employees resist seeking treatment within the system. The inconsistent use of the health system’s services represented a broader challenge, how to ensure employees received the right care at the right time. If the health system could optimize employee utilization of the best and most cost-effective health care, they could improve outcomes and reduce health care costs, which were rising three to four percent each year. To reach this goal, the health system implemented a number of strategies, including shifting to self-insurance, changing plan designs and better managing prescription costs. They also partnered with Accolade to help employees and their families navigate the health care system more effectively.

The purpose of this study was to work with a health care system to empower their employees with tools to get the right care at the right time while reducing costs and yielding improved health outcomes. In its first year, the model partnership yielded improved employee engagement, more effective benefits utilization and reduced health care costs. The health system enlisted the services of a health care navigator solution with breakthrough technology. The technology platform enables a more personalized relationship between patient and navigator, help patients understand how to use health care services effectively, and be able to make more informed health care decisions.

The relationship began in mid 2015, giving the organization’s 6,400 employees and their families -- roughly 14,000 people -- access to their own personal Accolade Health Assistant and a breakthrough technology platform that stores more than one million data points on benefits plans, claims, biometrics and contextual information culled from interactions with the Health Assistants. The platform uses machine learning and natural language processing to get more intelligent and more personalized as data is ingested. The Accolade solution serves as the gateway, helping the health system’s employees understand how to use services and getting them more actively involved in their health decisions. The relationship between Accolade and the health system’s management became a model partnership of shared goals, strong communications and combined efforts. The ability of Accolade Health Assistants to intervene before a situation becomes a health crisis has resulted in fewer hospital admissions and better utilization of preventive care and prescription drugs, which can make a big impact on total spend. In year one, the health system achieved close to 50-percent employee engagement and, because of the use of the Accolade solution, saved more than $2 million dollars in that time. Engagement with Accolade not only reduced costs significantly in the first year but also improved the health care experience of employees. In the first year, Accolade achieved a near-perfect satisfaction rating of 98-percent among the health system’s staff and their families, consistent with satisfaction ratings of other Accolade customers. In the first year with Accolade, the health system achieved: • 3% reduction in hospital admissions • 5% reduction in average length of hospital stay • 4% increase in office visits • 49% engagement • 98% client satisfaction • $2.2 million in cost savings

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