This past year has highlighted a number of issues around diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace and beyond. Many benefits leaders are looking for ways to improve their culture, policies, and practices for marginalized groups. Artemis Health recently hosted a webinar on this topic, and our panel of experts shared some of their discussions with employers. Here are some the insights they shared with our attendees.
"But I also think it helps to first articulate why the DE&I discussion is most important to the group. The data helps inform the discussion around how to get started, how employees are accessing resources. And also while it makes sense to start with evaluating what information is most readily available, in the end, when it comes to the data, more is more great."
"There's a lot of different benefit partners that most employers have these days from point solutions, especially you end up with multiple vendors that can address various needs within the population. But you also need to make sure that as they're addressing those specific needs that you've implemented them for that they're also addressing across, like Betsy noted, like hearing loss and vision loss and making sure that they're accessible to the entirety of the population and not limiting who can take advantage of those services."
"One thing that I would say with respect to this too is make sure you ask the employees at some point in time, let their voice be heard. When you're thinking about how to remove barriers, let people tell you what they think. And they may not always be right, sometimes we think something will work. And then we try it, in reality, it doesn't pan out. But it's still important to make sure that you're getting some of the employee voice incorporated in your plans because they may give you more information than what you would've come up with on your own. If we're sitting in an office and trying to think about strategically how do we implement this, make sure that the people that you're really wanting to take advantage that you're hearing their voice."
If used in conjunction with employee input and holistic data, benefits analytics can be a very useful tool in employers efforts to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion. Here are some examples from the Artemis Platform.
Gaps in care refers to the discrepancy between the care provided to patients and the recommended best practices in healthcare. Gaps in care can manifest in a number of ways:
Here’s an example from the real world. Let’s say a member on your plan is newly diagnosed with diabetes. They are prescribed medication, advised to lose weight, and advised to seek out a retinal screening for potential vision loss as a result of their condition. The patient fills their prescription dutifully for the first few months, but they are often late in refilling and aren’t taking the recommended dose. As a result, they suffer extremes in blood sugar levels and need to be seen in the emergency room. The patient also never seeks a diabetic eye screening, and later suffers vision loss. This is a very real example of a gap in care, where the patient now has added medical issues as a result of missing recommended steps in their treatment.
Other examples include:
Artemis helps our customers find and measure these health discrepancies within our data analytics platform. Here’s an example using sample data and showing screening rates for common cancers.
If used in conjunction with data around race, ethnicity, gender identity, and other factors, gaps in care can help identify and address healthcare equity.
As with gaps in care, demographic data can be tremendously useful in addressing access and equity in employee healthcare. There are a number of demographic breakdowns available in the Artemis Platform to employee benefits teams, including:
And many more. Information like this is helpful in determining whether employees and members on the plan have equal access to the healthcare resources they need. For example, an employer might mine this data to find out if employees in rural areas are able to find mental health help when needed. They could also see if younger members are as likely as older members to get an annual physical or participate in recommending screenings.
Demographic data is key to finding patterns and trends that might point to inequities in healthcare and wellness opportunities.
Employers looking to address diversity, equity, and inclusion should also consider monitoring health risk assessment (HRA) data. HRA surveys are a common tool for employee benefits teams. They ask a number of targeted questions of employees, such as race/ethnic identity, known personal or family risk factors, self-reported levels of stress or mental well-being, and more.
In our recent webinar, Linda Brady from Boeing shared her views on the importance of gathering and analyzing data on race, ethnicity, gender identity, and a few other factors affecting healthcare access.
“When we began looking at our data to see what stories you could tell, we discovered that none of our partners, our main partners, our network administrator or our claims administrators actually had any data on race, ethnicity, language, education, gender identity or sexual orientation. And everything that we had done with our partners regarding diversity was really along the lines of social determinants of health but dependent on zip code data. We started to try and understand the source of where this data resided within our own walls, and we did have this data in our own walls.”
Health risk assessment surveys are a great source of this type of data, and when integrated into a data warehouse, it allows employers to get a more holistic view of how their members are interacting with the healthcare system. In Boeing’s case, they are monitoring a number of data points and breaking down utilization using race, ethnicity, and other factors to better understand any gaps in healthcare equity their members may be facing.
As you can see, diversity is a hot topic for employers who want to ensure that all their employees are receiving the care, support, and dignity they deserve. Artemis firmly believes that the right diversity, equity, and inclusion practices create a stronger and happier workforce. We have signed on to the Parity Pledge, which simply means we have committed to interviewing and considering at least one qualified woman and person of color for every open role, VP and higher, including the C-suite and the board.
Last year, as protests around the country highlighted racial biases in policing, our CEO shared a “book club” selection each week. He encouraged employees to read along with him, which included How to Be An Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson, White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, and many more.
Artemis is driven by the mission of creating better and more affordable healthcare for everyone. When our founders were searching for a way to impact healthcare, they came across the fact that over 50% of Americans access their healthcare through their employers. That's why we chose to start working in the employee benefits industry. We truly believe that employers and their advisors are key to making healthcare more efficient and effective for everyone.
For us, there is no asterisk that's attached to that word, “everyone.” Making sure that “everyone has access to great healthcare they can afford” means that we can't ignore underrepresented groups. Diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives are vital to a thriving business, and health and wellness benefits are a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to building a more equitable future.