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January 23, 2018

Why Benefits Data Analytics is Good for Employees, Too

Artemis Health

When it comes to healthcare, saving money is the cherry on the ice cream for employers, but it’s not the only thing they want. They want to use the savings they have and find ways to reinvest it back into their employees in the form of either new wellness initiatives or lower premiums.

Employees may not see this right away, but having their company better analyze where their money is going and how to be efficient with their spending can provide additional opportunities for their organizations and a better work environment.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of how benefits data analytics is good for employees, too.  

Data analytics helps combat addiction.

Data analytics, when used to analyze substance abuse, can help employees achieve a better quality of life. The opioid crisis has impacted nearly every community in the U.S. It’s become such an issue that is has lowered the American life expectancy rate for the first time in history.

The Washington Post reported that in 2016, the opioid epidemic killed over 42,000 people. In an Artemis Health case study, an employer wanted to take the initiative to help their employees fight opioid abuse. They asked Artemis to help identify signs of abuse in their population. Specifically, they looked to see if employees were “doctor shopping,” or going to see multiple doctors and filling multiple prescriptions. Not only did they find fifteen cases of doctor shopping, but they also found that hundreds of people were taking a high enough dose of opioids that it put them at risk for addiction.

Armed with this data, the employer plans to address substance abuse through better pain management programs and improved employee access to rehabilitation.

Data analytics improves chronic disease management.

A major cost employers face this year is covering chronic diseases. When an employee has a chronic disease, they struggle with absenteeism, productivity, and focus. Better health messaging, on-site clinics and the flexibility to work from home are just some of the ways that companies can help employees using benefits data.

Using data from 600,000 employees and seven employers, the Rand Corporation found that disease management accounted for 87% of saving for employers and 30% reduction in hospital admissions. This resulted in $136 saved per member, per month. Smart employers pass this savings along to employees through lower premiums, copays, and improved programming.

Data analytics helps cut costs without cutting programs.

Benefits data can help cut costs, and employees benefit when these cost savings are used to add new programs. In a recent whitepaper, we reviewed how self-insured employers use data analytics to argue in favor of adding additional programs for their employees. In vitro fertilization (IVF) claims, for example, are generally billed per implantation, not per embryo.

Our data showed that patients choose to implant multiple embryos to increase the chance of pregnancy and to save costs, but this results in multiple births, higher risks and more hospital visits. Covering IVF and other infertility treatments would benefit both the employer and the employee in terms of costs and health outcomes.

The employers we work with are excited to find savings using benefits data, but employees stand to gain from these analyses, too. By using a data analytics platform like Artemis, employers gain a powerful tool in their quest to help create happy, healthy employees.

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