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Chapter 8 — Data analytics: Measuring program outcomes remains an opportunity for most employers

2018 Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey

Global Benefits Management|Health and Benefits
N/A

January 3, 2019

Find out how U.S. employers are managing health care costs and addressing employee wellbeing to achieve a healthy, high-performing workforce.

Measuring the impact of health and wellbeing initiatives remains an opportunity for employers to better understand what results in actual lower cost or trend and what employees want. Currently, less than half (46%) of employers use analytics for a multiyear evaluation of their strategy and activities (Figure 24). Two-thirds of employers (66%) formally monitor vendor performance through performance guarantees.

While artificial intelligence is seizing the interest of other industries, only 11% of employers currently are using artificial intelligence and machine learning to analyze medical claims data, but interest is ging and a third (36%) of employers expect to use it by 2020.

Taking a more focused approach, only a quarter (26%) of employers are using data to identify specific individuals or workforce segments for targeted outreach on relevant health and wellbeing initiatives. However, less than 20% of employees are comfortable with targeted messages around health issues, according to our most recent Global Benefits Attitudes Survey.

Figure 24. Monitoring vendor performance through performance guarantees are a point of emphasis

Chart and bar graph illustrating measurements of vendor performance

*“Planning for 2019”
^“Considering in 2020”
Sample: Based on respondents with at least 1,000 employees
Source: 2017 and 2018 Willis Towers Watson Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey

Notably, employers use a broader financial and nonfinancial measurement called a value-on-investment (VOI) approach more than a return-on-investment (ROI) approach to measure their health and wellbeing initiatives. About two-thirds (65%) of employers report using VOI, while 59% use ROI (Figure 25). The extent companies are using a VOI approach is also climbing — up from 53% in 2015.

Interestingly, the data collected by plan executives is not necessarily making it up the chain to the top as less than half (42%) share health and wellbeing initiative performance metrics with the C-suite, with senior management, or as a corporate-reported metric or scorecard on a regular basis (Figure 26).

Figure 25. Measuring the impact of health and wellbeing initatives remains an opporunity

Charts illustrating the impact of health and wellbeing initiatives

Sample: Based on respondents with at least 1,000 employees
Source: 2017 and 2018 Willis Towers Watson Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey

Figure 26. Greater opportunities to leverage data and metrics

Charts illustrating opportunities to leverage data and metrics

Note: Percentage indicates “To a very great extent” or “To a great extent”
Sample: Based on respondents with at least 1,000 employees
Source: 2017 and 2018 Willis Towers Watson Best Practices in Health Care Employer Survey

Best practices: Data analytics

  • Have a measurement strategy that supports multiyear evaluation of your health and wellbeing initiatives.
Chart indicating 53% best performers, 34% high-cost companies, 19% best performers' lead
  • Use a variety of financial and nonfinancial metrics to measure impact of health and wellbeing initiatives.
  • Compile workforce data and perform analytics to develop a strategy for improving diversity and inclusion.
Chart indicating 55% best performers, 41% high-cost companies, 14% best performers' lead
  • Share performance metrics with the C-suite, with senior managemnet, or as a corporate-reported metric or scorecard on a regular basis.
  • Formally monitor vendor performance through performance guarantees.
Chart indicating 68% best performers, 49% high-cost companies, 19% best performers' lead
  • Have a partnership with a third-party data warehouse.
Chart indicating 38% best performers, 24% high-cost companies, 14% best performers' lead
Chapter 8 — Data analytics: Measuring program outcomes remains an opportunity for most employers
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