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February 23, 2021

How Data Analytics Tools Can Make an Impact on Employee Behavioral Health

Artemis Health

Your employer wants you to see a therapist. Or, at least, they want you to have access to mental health resources when you need them. Our recent research study revealed that behavioral health was a top focus for benefits leaders in 2021. When asked about their priorities and worries this year, they told us: 

“We want our broker to aid us with data analytics surrounding mental health because of our change to virtual mode. We have programs in place to help people, but we need to identify exactly who needs help and how to make sure they get it.”
“We make changes quickly [due to COVID-19] and alert our employees through email. We have implemented many mental health opportunities because of COVID-19.”

These responses reflect a wider shift in the benefits industry; more and more employers are recognizing the growing need for mental health services and coverage, and they are struggling to keep up with demand. Some of them don’t know what to do to help employees beyond providing the phone number for their Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Some don’t have access to their data, and aren’t able to measure the scope of the mental health crisis or find opportunities for action. 

That’s where healthcare data analytics comes in. Great benefits analytics tools will help self-insured employers and benefits advisors: 

  1. Understand the scope of mental health diagnoses in their population 
  2. See who is being affected 
  3. Track costs and trends for behavioral health conditions 
  4. Create an action plan 

Let’s look at an example of how a behavioral health dashboard can help with these initiatives. 

Artemis Health Behavioral Health Dashboard 

Dashboard with demographic info for behavioral health diagnoses

Artemis Health’s Stories app helps employers and advisors create custom dashboards with clear visuals. In this example above, we get a good idea for the demographics of members with behavioral health claims. We’re using two methodologies to calculate this information: 

  1. Members with a diagnosis for mental disorders 

OR

  1. Members with a prescription for antidepressants or anti-anxiety medications 

You can see from this sample employee population that over 9,000 members fall into this group, which accounts for 23% of the total members on the plan. Approximately 65% of the members with behavioral health diagnoses are female. 

Next, we’ll look at a few other demographic data points. 

Bar chart showing ages of those diagnosed with behavioral health conditions.
Map showing hot spots for behavioral health diagnoses.

When we calculate members with these conditions by age bins, we can see it’s a fairly even spread across the population. Mental health conditions affect members of all ages, so any strategy or program being considered by benefits leaders should take this into account. Additionally, when we look at members by home state, we can see a good deal of geographic diversity. Our highest concentration of behavioral health conditions is in Maryland, which is where this sample company is headquartered. 

Now let’s look at cost trends. 

Table with costs for behavioral health medical claims

This table shows some good news for this sample employer. Their cost trends for behavioral health claims are all slightly down compared to the prior period. The data is showing slightly lower costs for both the employer and the members. 

Costs for common behavioral health diagnoses

When we look at costs by condition, the Artemis Platform can show more detail on both prevalence of certain conditions and those that are more costly. On the right, this table shows that diagnoses for anxiety disorders are the most common claims for these sample members. However, major depressive disorder and autistic disorder are the most costly for this payer. 

Finally, let’s look at the cost of prescription medications for both depression and anxiety. 

Table showing costs for common antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications.

These tables give a good overview of the costs of common drugs to treat depression and anxiety, the number of members with pharmacy claims for these medications, and the cost to the employer. 

A Story or custom dashboard like this one in the Artemis Platform gives the employer and their advisor a great overview of their behavioral health situation. It shows the scope of the problem, the demographics of members, common diagnoses, and costs, which all help to lead to an action plan. 

Some employers and advisors have tackled behavioral health conditions in their populations by evaluating and piloting new wellness programs. Portico Benefit Services, an Artemis Health customer, took this step to better support their members, who are largely rostered ministers and church workers for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). While looking at their data in on high-cost medical conditions in the Artemis Platform, Portico’s benefits team noticed three key health indicators: 

  1. Higher than average EAP utilization 
  2. High levels of self-reported anxiety and depression 
  3. Behavioral health diagnoses were in Portico’s top five diagnoses by cost 

Portico’s team wanted to find a wellness program that would provide confidential, early intervention for members at risk of mental health diagnoses, and they ended up piloting two programs, which they implemented in 2020. They have set clear benchmarks and goals for the programs, and are monitoring their success with the Artemis Platform.

Read the full case study with Portico Benefit Services to see how they took action on employee emotional well-being. 

Do you have the data analytics tools you need to make an impact on employee behavioral health? We can help. Watch our 2-minute demo to learn more about Artemis Health. 

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