March 26, 2019

What’s in Your Employee Health Stack?

Have you ever experienced “tech stack” envy? Maybe you’re walking by the desk of your friend in marketing, and you see them crunching numbers and creating easy-to-read charts in seconds. Or you’re in a meeting with the finance team, and they’re pulling reports on demand in seconds. You think to yourself, “Why don’t those tools exist for HR and Benefits teams?”

Other teams around your company have robust “tech stacks,” or a series of software programs and tools that integrate with each other to help them do their jobs better. For your marketing friends, it likely includes some automation and demand generation tools, Adobe Creative Suite, and web publishing software. So what’s in the benefits team’s stack? What tools, services, and programs help you accomplish the goal of happier, healthier employees?

Willis Towers Watson’s annual Best Practices in Healthcare employer survey found a growing interest in using technology to drive better employee health. They noted a few trends:

56% prioritize health technology solutions as important over the next three years
26% are actively looking for the best new technology or plan to pilot new solutions
65% are interested in tech that improves health care navigation or benefit experiences


We talked to benefit leaders about their health stacks and found some answers about the benefits landscape. Here’s what we found.

34% are utilizing telemedicine as a “health stack” tool.

According to a joint study by Employee Benefit News and Artemis Health, 34% of surveyed employers are using telemedicine programs to improve employee health. Some studies show even wider adoption of telemedicine visits, as high as 86%! Telemedicine is a win/win for employers and their members; employers win when members seek care at the right point of service, and members win when they get fast, affordable care for common conditions.

Virtual visits are popular with everyone, including providers who save time and can quickly solve issues for simple patient needs, like a renewed prescription, a course of antibiotics, or a check-in on a chronic condition. Employers like the increased productivity. If a worker doesn’t need to leave the office, drive to a physician’s office, wait their turn, then drive back to work, they’re saving tremendously on absentee hours. Employees like the time savings too, plus many telemedicine plans offer lower copays than a traditional PCP visit.

58% of you are offering health and fitness incentive programs.

Our survey found that 58% of employers are incentivizing employees to participate in fitness challenges and weight loss initiatives. Many of these involve tracking through phone apps, fitness bands, and other tech solutions.

Fitbit Health Solutions is a good example of this. The fitness tracking app and hardware maker recently launched a corporate wellness arm focused exclusively on HR health tech solutions for employers. Their model combines the actual fitness tracker, app access, and coaching to help businesses incentivize employee well-being.

Many of you are thinking beyond physical wellness to things like mindfulness and resilience, financial wellness, genetic profiling, and even sleep wellness. For every aspect of wellness, there’s a corresponding app to help employers track the success of their programs.

83% of you believe benefits data analytics can help with employee health.

While telemedicine and fitness apps are obvious ways to improve employee health through technology, benefits data analytics is a little under the radar. However, we found 83% of you think it can help with employee health and wellness. The majority of benefit leaders know that a benefits analytics tool belongs in their health stack.

Here’s a few reasons why:

There are lots of ways benefits leaders are using technology to enhance the employee experience. Whether it’s driving engagement with benefits, enabling better nutrition and exercise habits, or analyzing healthcare utilization, every benefit manager should look to tech tools to improve employee well-being.

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