Posts Taged cost-effective-healthcare

How to Encourage Employees to Use Preventive Care

stethoscope, medical, cost effective health careHappy and healthy employees play a big part in making a business run effectively. One effective way employers can  make this happen is by accessing preventive healthcare. Preventive care helps keep all of your employees healthy and offers benefits for you as well. Employees that take advantage of the preventive healthcare options will experience long term health benefits that will also save you money in the future.

The ACA

You should notify all employees about the free options available as some may not know what they can access. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is one thing many employees may know about, but may not fully understand. Make time to inform employees about everything they can access so they can take advantage of the benefits provided.

First and foremost, preventive care is free and available to everyone, including men, women and children. This is a major convenience for employees who have been putting off seeing a doctor due to costs or those who who have never been able to access health care services. Be sure to keep in mind that services are only free when delivered by an in-network doctor. As an employer, be sure to invest in the best wellness programs so your employees can take advantage of free services.

Services

So what services are covered? Depending on age, participants have access to a variety of tests, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and cancer screenings. These screenings are effective in detecting diseases in early stages, so action can take place in order to take care of the issue up front. Routine vaccinations and pediatrician visits for children and young adults are available up until age 21. Pregnant women can receive screenings, vaccines and information on the pregnancy to ensure everything is progressing smoothly. Healthy habit information and advice on quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, losing weight, combating depression and more are also included. Catholic Benefits Trust provides a few additional services, such as nurses who serve as personal health coaches and assistance with building annual specialized wellness plans.

Organizations like Catholic Benefits Trust will help you and your employees gain access and understand free preventive health care. At CBT, we strive to make the best and most affordable options available to our members. Managing an employee benefits program can be tricky, but we are here to help. We provide a great number of benefits and services to assist in making this process effective for you and your employees.

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Lowering Healthcare Costs with Advanced Analytics

Medical care has come quite a long way in the last several decades. Diseases that were once thought unsurvivable are now treatable, and doctors’ understanding of many conditions has improved greatly. One area where we’ve made tremendous strides, particularly in the last decade, is in healthcare analytics. The widespread availability of data on many facets of patient care means that we’re now better able to analyze and understand how patients are using healthcare – enabling employers to make better decisions.

Today, almost all healthcare purchasers want advanced analytics, with 90% believing that real time data is key to making critical decisions for their organizations. With the right analytics, an employer can tell how many employees are taking advantage of emergency room care but not seeing a primary care doctor, for example, or how many of their employees are pre-diabetic but are not being treated. Analytics can also help:

By incorporating this type of actionable data, organizations can make smart choices for themselves and their employees when it comes to healthcare.

Making Analytics Actionable

The key word when it comes to analytics, of course, is “actionable”. Employers need to be presented with data in a fashion that’s going to support and enable them to create strategic plans. As evidence-based medicine moves to the forefront, it’s no surprise that advanced analytics would come forward as well. In a recent survey from nonprofit National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, 97% of respondents agree that “now more than ever it’s essential to have tools to effectively evaluate data and make informed decisions”.

Of course, not all organizations are able to bring advanced analytics in-house. Perceived cost or lack of internal resources could keep an organization from pursuing actionable analytics. However, in many cases, the need for analytics is supported by an organization’s health plan. For example, Catholic Benefits Trust members receive both ownership of their medical data, as well as a robust analysis of that data, helping you make smart choices. We even offer benchmark data so you can see how your plans and programs stack up compared to other CBT members.

We know that you might not have the staff to undergo a large analytics initiative – but we can help you uncover actionable insights without investing in a whole host of mathematicians. Get in touch today to see how we can help your organization make use of analytics, shared best practices, and a host of other benefits.

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Design Your Benefits Plan to Attract Talent

office yoga, workplace wellness, attract talent with benefitsYour organization and your employees will have different benefit requirements than other businesses and organizations. How can you ensure your benefits package is optimized to meet the requirements of your organization and attract top talent? Here are a few things to consider as you design your own benefits plan:

  • Wellness Plans

You can never go wrong with wellness plans. An essential part of preventative health care, wellness plans can help your employees adopt healthy lifestyles and catch symptoms before they become expensive and painful health problems. Offering wellness programs shows applicants that you’re a cost-effective organization that makes the well-being of their employees a priority.

  • Financial Wellness Plans

Retirement remains a top concern for many employees. Many even consider delaying their retirement beyond the age they originally intended in order to save more money. Providing a financial wellness program will help your employees stay on track as they plan for retirement. Potential employees will see that you value their long-term plans and will also recognize their need for financial advice when it comes to retirement savings and options.

  • Health Improvement Programs

Health improvement programs focus on helping individuals at-risk for or diagnosed with certain chronic conditions. Chronic diseases are often the most expensive to treat. With an improvement plan in place, you can reduce health costs while also providing your employees the support they need to improve their health and their productivity.

  • Flexibility

In order to attract top talent to your organization, you have to understand what your employees value most in their benefits package. What kind of benefits will potential employees be most tempted by? Once you understand your audience, you can work with CBT to design your own plan and select the benefit carriers and consultants you want.

  • Lower Fixed Costs

One way to attract talent is to provide a benefits plan with lower fixed costs. When you join an organization like CBT, you become part of a larger group of members. This allows you to reduce administrative costs no matter what.

At CBT, we can help you optimize your benefits package to attract and retain top talent at your organization. Please contact us if you have any questions!

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How Employers Can Raise Diabetes Awareness

world diabetes awareness for employersThe most effective way to cut healthcare costs is to prevent health problems. If your employees don’t require expensive medical care, you don’t have to spend precious time researching and weighing your options. In order to help your employees maintain healthy lifestyles, you can start a corporate wellness program or hire a health coach. You can also raise awareness through basic education programs.

Diabetes education is a great place for employers to start. In 2014, 442 million people were diagnosed with diabetes, up from 108 million in 1980 according to the World Health Organization. Diabetes is also one of the mostly costly diseases. The American Diabetes Association estimated that the total costs of diagnosed diabetes rose from $174 billion in 2007 to $245 billion in 2012. What can employers do to raise awareness and support employees with diabetes?

1. Implement a Diabetes Education Program

You can help your employees prevent diabetes by establishing an education program to teach them the causes and symptoms of the disease. Despite how common diabetes is, misconceptions about how you get it and what it does still exist. By providing your employees with a basic understanding of the disease, you can raise awareness and show support for those who have been diagnosed with diabetes.

2. Offer Diabetes Screening

Employers can also offer diabetes screening tests for employees. When employees understand how the disease is detected, they will notice warning signs and symptoms earlier, which will improve their ability to treat the disease later.

3. Encourage Healthy Lifestyles

The most important outcome of your diabetes education program should be that your employees are motivated and able to adopt healthier lifestyles. If they know what causes the disease, they can take the appropriate steps to prevent diabetes. You can also offer wellness programs and hire health coaches to help your employees maintain healthy, preventative lifestyles.

Offering a diabetes education program will raise awareness for the disease and encourage your employees to be more aware of their health. Education programs play a major role in prevention. The more your employees know about health risks and benefits, the more motivated they will be to avoid expensive health issues such as diabetes in the future. Contact us to learn more.

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3 Tips for Developing a Culture of Health

culture of health at work

While regular exercise and a balanced diet can prevent many health problems in the future, our society doesn’t make healthy lifestyles a priority. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle becomes more difficult when you’re living in an environment that doesn’t promote health and wellness. You can help your employees prevent expensive health issues in the future by cultivating a culture of health at work. A culture of health is a community where personal and collective health is a priority. Here are a few ways you can develop and benefit from a culture of health at work:

1. Wellness Programs

Implementing a wellness program is one of the most effective ways to transform your workplace culture. A wellness program can help your employees focus on their long-term health by encouraging healthy habits such as diet and exercise. At CBT, we help our members develop a wellness plan that includes health screenings and doctor visits. Our wellness plan can help you identify and manage health risks for your employees so you can customize a wellness program for your workers. CBT members can also access our Health Improvement Program, which will help individuals at your organization manage and improve their health.

2. Health Coaches

Many people develop preventable diseases and illnesses due to a lack of education. With a health coach and other resources, you can educate your workers so they understand how to help themselves. At CBT, we provide our members with a nurse to act as their advocate and health coach. Nurses are valuable assets in the medical world and they can teach your employees how to maintain healthy lifestyles.

3. Communication

You can develop a culture of health at work by connecting your employees with a variety of health professionals. With several health professionals in your network, they can communicate with each other and collaborate on diagnoses and developing effective treatment plans.  

With all of these resources available, your employees will know that you’re making their health a priority, which will encourage them to do the same. It may not happen overnight, but with access to the right resources you are developing a culture of health. Contact us to learn more about our member benefits so you can start helping your employees get healthy!

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The Benefits of Telemedicine

telemedicine and technology used to improve healthcare quality and access

Accountable care organizations (ACOs) are already transforming the healthcare industry. ACOs replace the fee-for-service pay structure with a value-based care model where the emphasis is on the patient not the payment. As ACOs continue to grow and evolve, one of the ways they ensure higher quality care for patients is through telemedicine. Telemedicine is the term used to describe the transfer of medical information via electronic devices. Whether through email, video chat, smartphones, or other wireless tools, telemedicine aims to improve patient health more efficiently. The use of telemedicine is expected to increase significantly among ACOs in 2016 because of the efficiency and cost savings that telemedicine technology allows. Here are a few ways ACOs can benefit from using telemedicine:

1. Improve Quality of Care

With telemedicine, doctors and caregivers can track symptoms and make more accurate diagnoses. They can use technology to understand symptoms better and catch health issues before they become costly emergencies. Patients can also have access to specialists without having to schedule months in advance for an in-person visit.

2. Reduce Healthcare Costs

ACOs and telemedicine reduce healthcare costs by reducing the number of patient visits. With a fee-for-service model, more in-person visits to the doctor means more profits. Unfortunately, it also means more wasted resources. Instead of focusing on the long-term health of patients, fee-for-service healthcare prioritizes frequency of visits and services over treatment and quality patient care. Frequent visits that only focus on short-term healthcare waste valuable resources and are more likely to lead to costly health emergencies. With telemedicine, patients can consult with their caregivers via email, phone, or video, which saves money and resources.

3. Increased Access to Healthcare

Telemedicine makes healthcare available to a wider range of people than ever before. Patients living in rural communities can contact their physicians more often and even consult with them without having to travel. With video technology and webinars, patients living in rural areas have access to relevant medical information. They can consult with their doctors over long distances without traveling, which saves time and money. This easy-access to medical resources makes it easier for doctors to catch health problems early and provide effective treatment plans.

Contact us to learn more about our role as an ACO and how we use telemedicine to help you!

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How You Can Benefit from Automation

how you can benefit from automation in healthcareTransitioning to a value-based cost model from a fee-based payment model can be challenging. Your organization can make the transition easier by using automation tools. Automation tools will determine the exact costs of all resources and services, which will help you assign accurate prices for your new payment model. Value-based care and automation is a cost-effective solution for both patients and providers.

Automation will make balancing the cost of care and what payers are willing to pay easier by reducing mistakes and providing an accurate analysis of prices. Here are a few ways your organization can benefit from automation:

  • Using an automated system to determine costs will reduce the likelihood of human error in calculations. They also operate more efficiently and can collect and analyze data 24/7. A constantly updated stream of reliable data will help providers predict outcomes and future expenses.
  • One of the many benefits to adopting a value-based care model is that you save on resources. With automation, you will reduce paper use while also determining problem areas in your current cost model where resources are being misused.
  • Automated patient data can also reduce death rates and decrease complications among patients. A Texas hospital reported lower death rates associated with an increase in automated records and notes.

Value-based care models are more cost-effective because they shift the focus to a patient’s long-term health. This allows providers and doctors to treat minor health issues with treatment plans before they become costly health problems. Automated data and cost analysis will help you make your value-based care model operate smoothly and efficiently.  

At Catholic Benefits Trust, we put the focus on the health of your employees. Our members have access to a variety of benefits. When you partner with us, you’ll earn a leadership role on our Board of Directors as well as a personal health coach to guide you and your employees along every step of the way. We also understand the importance of automation and patient data. Our data warehouse will encourage your employees to participate in wellness programs and it will allow you to make accurate predictions about healthcare costs. Contact us to learn more!

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How to Decrease Costly Hospital Stays

reducing number of expensive hospital visits with ACOsWhen there’s a medical emergency that requires a hospital stay, expenses can add up quickly. Increasingly, patients are responsible for paying their own medical bills instead of insurers. Researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor studied how much insurers spent on hospital stays. Between 2009 and 2013, out-of-pocket expenses increased by 37% per hospital stay, which is a growth rate of 6.5% per year. How can you avoid expensive hospital stays?

With value-based healthcare models, you can minimize costly hospital stays. With accountable care organizations (ACOs) and value-based care, the focus is on you and your health. Many current cost models reward doctors and providers for high-traffic visits. This means that patient health takes a back seat because, if patients are healthy, then they don’t need as many doctor or hospital visits. Here are a few ways value-based care models decrease hospital stays and doctor visits to save you money:

  • With value-based models, doctors are rewarded for practicing preventative medicine and decreasing the number of doctor visits. Preventative treatments take priority over short-term fixes so patients receive higher quality, long term care.
  • These healthcare models also use predictive analytics to improve their preventative treatment methods and diagnoses. Predictive analytics allows medical professionals to examine patterns in a larger pool of patient data. This helps them predict how your health might progress so they can design a treatment plan customized to your specific needs.
  • Part of customized care and treatment plans at the Catholic Benefits Trust includes a personal health coach. Your health coach acts as your advocate and can walk you through every step of the treatment process.  

All of these strategies combine to help reduce the likelihood of medical emergencies that require a hospital stay. Instead of just lowering the costs of hospital stays, value-based care models encourage doctors, specialists, and providers to collaborate on the best way to treat patients so they don’t require a hospital stay at all. This cost-effective healthcare strategy saves you money and focuses on improving your health before small problems become medical disasters. You and your insurance provider will save money in the long-run by using less resources.

You can learn more about how the Catholic Benefit Trust works to make sure our partners save money and have improved healthcare services by contacting us!

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The Importance of Predictive Analytics

why predictive analytics can improve your health care For most people, their healthcare decisions are determined by cost and affordability. While this strategy may good for your bank account, your health decisions should always be centered around your personal wellness as well as that of your wallet. In order to get the best of both worlds, we can use predictive analytics to improve healthcare while also making it more cost-effective for patients. Here’s why healthcare data and analytics can benefit you:

Predictive analytics will help improve healthcare in several ways. By gathering and analyzing patient data, medical professionals can study patterns in medical history and treatment plans on a much larger scale. Healthcare data will increase the accuracy of diagnoses and improve preventative medicine. For example, your doctor could compare your data to that of patients with similar medical history and demographics to you and see which treatment options were most effective for them.

Medical providers could also use this healthcare data to predict how your health will progress so they can anticipate a problem before it occurs. Not only does this benefit you and your personal wellness, but it will also alleviate healthcare costs. Instead of spending money on emergency medical services, you can save money by avoiding emergency situations altogether with preventative treatment plans designed specifically for you.

Having comprehensive medical data on all patients also allows for coordinated efforts among medical professionals. Instead of having your information transferred from one specialist to another, everything will be secure and available to all relevant providers. This eliminates the possibility of errors and outdated information on patients.

Another advantage to predictive analytics is that it helps policy makers develop more accurate payment plans and cost-model tools. Where you once had to gamble on how much treatment would cost you, with predictive analytics cost-model tools can be fine-tuned so you won’t experience any financial surprises.

You can learn more about how the Catholic Benefits Trust works to integrate predictive analytics, Catholic values, and value-based healthcare into our member benefits by contacting us!

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How ACOs Can Increase Savings

healthcare savings through accountable care organizationsHealth care providers and patients can benefit from joining an accountable care organization (ACO) in several ways. Aside from offering higher quality healthcare focused on preventative medicine, ACOs will also provide the opportunity for payers and providers to experience significant savings. Here are three ways ACOs cut costs:

1. Compliance with State and Federal Laws

When it comes to decisions about who’s employing doctors and how much control payers and providers have, ACOs must comply with state and federal laws. Many of these organizational decisions are directly related to health care regulations. These regulations exist to protect private patient data. Following the design outlined by state and federal laws makes managing who has control over patient information simple and secure. ACOs can follow these guidelines to prevent potential data breaches, which can be costly and time-consuming.

2. Remain Committed

In order for organizations to see real savings, ACOs must remain committed and invest enough time into the endeavor. ACOs aren’t likely to see an immediate reward for providing quality over quantity healthcare to patients. If they remain focused and dedicated to the pursuit, however, they should see significant savings. It also takes time to implement all of the necessary changes. Switching from a fee-for-service payment model to value-based care doesn’t happen overnight. While it takes time, ACOs are cost-effective solutions worthy of consideration.

3. Invest in Risk-Based Payment Arrangements

ACOs that sit on the sidelines and continue to follow a fee-for-service model are missing out on great opportunities to save. ACOs that partner with payers and providers through risk-based payment contracts are more likely to succeed and save significantly more than those remaining on the sidelines.

At the Catholic Benefits Trust, we do everything possible to save our members money while also ensuring quality care. Each of our members has a seat on the Board of Directors so everyone has equal say when it comes to managing the vision and goals of CBT. We provide secure protection and access to patient information as well as legal protection of funds intended for employee benefits. Our members also receive personal health management plans tailored to specific patients based on their data and information. When it comes to healthcare, there’s no organization more cost-effective than us! Contact us to learn more!

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