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Commentary

Rethinking Value to Strengthen Health Care


June 07, 2021

By Karthik Ganesh, CEO of EmpiRx Health 

Karthik Ganesh, CEO, EmpiRx HealthHealth care executives understand—perhaps better than anyone else—the cracks in the health care system revealed by COVID-19. They have spent the past months trying diligently to close those gaps and better serve patients, despite their own encounters with the physical, financial, and mental health tsunami the pandemic has unleashed.

As employers, health care executives must also address provider and staff satisfaction from a new perspective. It is no longer enough to look at a Net Promoter Score (NPS), for example. No single number can reflect how much the physical and emotional intensity of COVID-19 has exacerbated provider burnout risks and staffing challenges.  

The past one and a half years have forced everyone to step back and reevaluate what is important and how we can do better. Few are shocked, for instance, by data that indicates 65% of individuals are reevaluating how they spend their time, and 58% are re-evaluating their life goals. People everywhere are searching for a more meaningful and more equitable path forward—for themselves and for society.  

For employers and their leaders, this moment of temporary adversity offers some tremendous long-term opportunities.  

Integrated health care organizations have long been on the vanguard of bringing value to the patient experience and patient care. Combine that idea with the fact that some studies show more satisfied health care providers result in a more satisfying patient experience, not unlike what we see in other industries where improved employee satisfaction translates into better customer experiences. The question then becomes: How can we improve the patient experience by adding value to the employee experience and strengthening our employer-employee relationships? 

Add Value Through Hyper-Personalization  

Progressive employers in many industries are beginning to ask themselves how they can ensure their employees feel valued. Health care executives, too, can start to evaluate and redefine what value means. At a recent virtual conference called Value Xchange, speakers talked about building corporate cultures where essential, meaningful work is both the norm and the most value-added element of the employer-employee relationship. 

That concept should strike a familiar note for people working within integrated health care. The pandemic has clearly shown the world how absolutely essential and meaningful integrated health care is—but how adequately does each individual health care organization nurture that “meaning” within the context of their employee relationships?

The key to cultivating meaning and value for patients and employees alike lies in the ability to hyper-personalize. Whether it’s hyper-personalized patient care or a hyper-personalized employee experience, the same premise applies: every program, policy and process within the organization must be designed with a “people-first” mindset. 

Too often, health care organizations design processes around specific devices or technologies. As one speaker at the conference noted, “We’ve forgotten to put people at the heart of everything.” Yet as she also pointed out, a people-first mindset is what generates rapid innovation and faster solutions. So, here are a few tactics health care and pharmacy executives can use to evolve their employer-employee relationship strategies to add more value through hyper-personalization:

  • Use diversity as a driver to expand resilience. The most significant aspect of any great organization is the uniqueness of its individuals. By craving their different points of view and encouraging diversity of thought, organizations broaden their empathy and their ability to drive innovation that leads to both business and employee resilience.
  • Look at equity in all its facets. COVID-19 has illuminated many of the inequities in health care. To provide equitable care for patients and an equitable experience for employees, we must think about developing programs that offer a variety of choices that are capable of meeting people from all walks of life, wherever they happen to be in their life journey.
  • Move from one-size-fits-all toward more individualized health care benefits. To personalize employee benefits, we must rethink the idea of medical risk. The needs of a healthy 25-year-old, for example, are very different than those of a 50-year-old person with diabetes and other chronic conditions. Knowing this, organizations can design value-based benefits tailored to the kind of care an individual is likely to need. Data and technology now permit insurance companies to create more value-based products that positively impact costs as well as patient care.
  • Find ways to simplify. SAP once conducted a study that asked thousands of CEOs around the world, “What’s your number one strategic concern for the future?” The answer from 70% of them was “complexity.” Complexity crushes agility, innovation and meaningful work. By contrast, think about businesses such as Netflix, Uber, or Dropbox. They’re all successful because they were built to simplify. Simplification gets rid of noise and frees people to pursue work that is meaningful to each of them. Health care leaders must seek ways to simplify processes and bring value to employees, rather than just keeping them busy.

Seize the Moment  

All of our interpersonal dynamics—including employer-/employee and provider-patient relationships—have fundamentally changed due to COVID-19. From the adversity of the pandemic, however, comes unparalleled opportunity.

As both health care executives and employers, we now have a chance to rethink what is valuable to our businesses, our employees, and our patients. As a country, even, we have a moment to reimagine organizational value. What will it take for us to meet this moment and create a better path forward?

About Karthik Ganesh

Mr Ganesh is the CEO at EmpiRx Health, the industry’s only value-based PBM, with a clinically focused and tech-enabled approach to bending the Rx cost curve.

EmpiRx Health is a category creator in the PBM space, with the only risk-bearing pay-for-performance model, powered by a unique Rx-driven population health management solution, and delivered with a boutique white-glove service experience. He joined the company in 2018 and have since worked with incredible teams to grow EmpiRx Health into an Inc 5000 company, while transforming it into a high-growth and high-innovation engine. 

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Population Health Learning Network or HMP Global, their employees, and affiliates. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, association, organization, company, individual, or anyone or anything. 

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