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July 25, 2017

Three Ways Employers are Using Population Behavior Insights to Drive Value

Artemis Health

Artemis Health hears from employers regularly with questions about benefits spending, ROI, and program performance. But to get a truly accurate picture of their benefits landscape, our customers also keep an eye on employee behaviors. They want to know:

  • How they’re engaging with their benefits
  • Trends, risks and cost drivers
  • Which groups of employees may need extra support or attention

Let’s take a look at three ways companies are using benefits data to look at employee behavior.

1: They’re comparing against benchmarks.

Self-help books are chock-full of inspiring quotes about not comparing yourself to others. But that doesn’t apply to benefits data analysts. One of the best ways to analyze employee behaviors is through benchmark comparisons with the larger population of health consumers.

Benchmarks help employers answer the question, “What should we be worried about?” Instead of looking at trendy topics like diabetes or avoidable ER, they can scientifically explore what will have the biggest impact on their members compared to the norm. Employers can answer the questions, “Where are the outliers?” and “What can we do about it?”

Artemis partners with outside data feed vendors to allow our customers to look at how their population stacks up against national averages for costs, risk score, and more. Using a much larger data set (millions instead of thousands of lives) gives employers an idea of areas in which their employee behavior might be normal, better than average, or problematic.

For example, an employer might find that their staff in one region are far more likely to visit the ER than the region as a whole. Or that their members are having more CT scans than average. Or they may discover their population doesn’t have solid access to behavioral health services compared to other Americans. Comparing against benchmarks gives employers a larger picture of employee behavior than is possible just within their own population.

2: They’re watching regional engagement.

Benefit leaders want to track engagement by office location so they know where to target communications and how to allocate their time and attention. Benefits teams are generally small, just 3 or 4 people, but they’re serving a population of thousands. Artemis helps them see breakdowns of program engagement, costs, and more by office location to help them make the best use of their limited resources.

Telemedicine is a good example of this. We took a look at telemedicine utilization using sample data in this analysis.

You can see that employees in San Diego and Texas are the most likely to use their telemedicine benefits, while those in LA and Richmond haven’t made the most of this program. Employers also track wellness program participation by region so they can see if certain teams or offices are more likely to participate than others.

3: They’re keeping an eye on chronic disease management.

Employers look at data around chronic conditions for a few reasons—they’re looking for efficiencies, but they’re also concerned about how these conditions impact the health and happiness of employees. Diabetes is a good example of a chronic disease where data analysis can reveal employee behaviors.

In addition to prescribed drugs, diabetes-related equipment can be a cost driver for patients and employers. For this company, an analysis of Rx claims revealed a change in the behavior of diabetic employees.

In Q1 of 2016, members began buying far more glucose test strips than previously. Diabetics require a maximum of about 3-4 test strips per day to monitor their blood sugar, but these members were “hoarding” test strips, in some cases purchasing enough for 50 blood sugar tests per day.

As a result, this employer has added quantity limits for glucose test strips to save costs and influence employee behavior. Other examples of “hoarding” employers have uncovered using Artemis include birth control pills, opioid prescriptions, and migraine medication. Employers often work with their health plans to warn members against hoarding behaviors, as it can be unsafe for patients.

How is your benefits team exploring employee behavior? If you’d like to see how Artemis can help, sign up for a free demo.

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