Last fall, I had the privilege to attend the Employer Health Innovation Roundtable in both Boston and Las Vegas. EHIR is an up and coming forum for activist employers who are seeking to redefine their approach to healthcare delivery as they contemplate how to rein in costs, improve quality, and increase engagement. Kudos to Michael Laquere and team for putting together a great group of employers for these sessions.
The events I attended were focused on digital health and the three “platform” approaches to incorporating the busy hive of digital health startups trying to get noticed around the employer-as-payer honeypot. I presented alongside CEO John Doyle at Castlight, which positions itself as a technology platform for health benefits, and VP Operations Shannon Skaggs at Quantum, which represents a concierge care navigation approach. Crossover was the third panelist representing the Medical Group approach. We each had about 10 minutes to present our concept with a 5 minute Q&A before coming together for a 15 minute panel discussion. It was good to get the different perspectives and I appreciated the interaction with John and Shannon.
After the meeting, I was just struck by the clear choice being presented to the 40 or so Fortune 100 HR leaders in the room. Do you solve your disconnected, dysfunctional healthcare challenges with a technology, concierge, or actual care delivery approach. What is the best way to address the cost, quality, and engagement issues faced by employers? How do you truly affect behavior change? And, most importantly, which type of platform will ultimately create the most trust?
Choice 1 – Technology Platform. Castlight was previously a price transparency “feature”. They attempted to expand their offering by acquiring Jiff in January 2017. This led to their transition to become a health benefits technology “firm”. They retrenched to build out the pipes to connect the large and growing employer ecosystem of digital health apps while also adding care navigation and wellness / benefits integration services (other players include Vida Redbrick, Limeade, etc). While maybe some integration and coordination of benefits can be gained, this is a helpful tool at best and most likely considered another “app” that doesn’t get used after initial activation by employees.
Choice 2 – Concierge Platform. Quantum, which has a strong concierge and navigation service (also big props for the whole “health warriors” concept) has some traction in the mid- to large market (other players include Accolade, Grand Rounds, Compass, etc). While I believe that Care Management cost savings as delivered by third parties has been previously debunked as ineffectual, I personally believe that Quantum definitely creates value given their direct relationships with members often at times of great need. However, my main issues is the active disintermediation of the most trusted relationship (by standing between the patient and the physician) is a poorly designed approach. Perhaps in a disconnected / fragmented world, I give look the other way; but in our Connected System of Health that does not pass.
Choice 3 – Care Delivery Platform. If you want to manage health care costs, you have to manage healthcare. The actual purchaser of care is not the patient, it is the physician “prescribing” the treatments for and in behalf of the member. Because patients accept 95% of our providers recommendations (and we have already augmented our services with care navigators embedded into the care teams to followup on these critical referrals), I strongly believe the medical group is the most trusted platform in the ecosystem. Furthermore, we are also the most capable because we literally touch the patient, and direct care, prescribe treatments, and followup in a closed loop process. Finally, given our focus on self insured employers, we are also “benefit aware” and can counsel members on the best and highest use of their employers benefits. No need for multiple parties, multiple technologies or multiple platforms – one simple place for all your care delivery needs.
Bottom line, activist employers who are serious about controlling cost, increasing quality, and achieving higher engagement should choose a care delivery partner as their platform. Said another way, whichever platform removes the most friction, is closest to the decision making, solves health problems in the most efficient way, enables the best integration, has the best insights, and ultimately generates the most trust should be the winner.
Trust me, its clearly a tech-enabled, benefits-aware, national medical group. Trust me, its clearly Crossover Health!
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