June 07, 2021
By Travis Rush, CEO and cofounder, Reperio
One year since the term ‘COVID’ entered our daily lexicon, consumers are doing more from home. Telehealth grew significantly in 2020, and is projected to grow even more in 2021. Health plans are expanding virtual care benefits to their members across the US, demonstrating that they don’t always have to leave their homes to manage their health. It is a solid step forward in terms of empowering members in their health care, however, plans should not stop there.
Amid the momentum around the use of platforms like Zoom and home-based health endeavors, plans should seize the opportunity to proactively engage their members, improve outcomes, and boost member engagement and satisfaction. Also, now that working from home is the “new normal” for many industries—and preferred by at least 65% of adults—plans have the support they need to adapt benefits to a post-pandemic culture.
One such area health plans should assess is home-based health testing solutions, which can enable their members to measure their overall health—including blood pressure, BMI, blood-glucose and cholesterol levels—using health data to benchmark progress with goals (eg, weight loss). Home-based testing kits empower individuals with greater health awareness and can serve as a wakeup call for those with chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes, or those who do not yet know they are at risk for a life-altering condition.
Considering that 90% of the $3.8 trillion in annual health care costs is associated with chronic diseases, the preventive impact of proactive health screenings should not be dismissed, especially when consumers have acclimated to home-based activities and are more apt to engage with biometric measurement tools and testing solutions.
Here are five advantages of home-based health testing worth highlighting.
- Convenience. An important realization that came out of the pandemic was how thinly stretched many Americans across the country are. While many individuals are willing to undergo health screenings in a lab or doctor’s office, unless urgency presents itself, there is a tendency to put off testing. Health testing kits eliminate this inconvenience because they are directly shipped to members’ homes.
- Participation and engagement. While initiatives such as weight-loss incentive programs have moderate long-term success rates, it can be difficult to convince consumers that they should do more to engage in their own health—or make lasting, impactful changes. Home-based health testing kits boost participation because initial screenings are convenient and simple—removing a scale from a box to weigh themselves, using a tape measure to check waist circumference, and using other tools to check blood pressure or resting heart rate.
- Insights and analytics. Home-based based health testing generates actionable insights for members relatively quickly by flagging data that is out of range or requires further investigation. Home-based health screenings also generate anonymized member health data, which can be used to evaluate and improve health and wellness initiatives. By understanding the extent to which member populations are at risk for certain conditions (eg sleep apnea, heart disease) plans can better adapt programs to the real-life needs of their members.
- Cost savings. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lists heart disease, diabetes, and obesity as some of the most expensive chronic conditions in the US, but these conditions are preventable. Chronic disease is a big driver behind health plan spending, but by improving health awareness, engagement, and early detection of health problems—through home-based health testing solutions—plans can reduce their healthcare spending and increase positive member outcomes.
- Member satisfaction. According to a survey by JD Power, 48% of respondents reported that they feel their health plan has not shown concern for their health since the beginning of the pandemic. By offering members convenient, comprehensive screening and diagnostic services, wherever and whenever it is convenient, health plans are demonstrating that they care about their members’ ongoing health, convenience and overall satisfaction, which creates positive sentiments with their member base.
With the post-pandemic cultural shift towards remote work and telehealth, there is no better time to consider new ways to engage with members while they are doing more at home. Preventive testing services can help improve members’ health and help save on care costs, while also demonstrating a higher level of compassion that’s needed in 2021 and beyond.
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