Published by Joanne McGowan on February 26th, 2018

Navigating healthcare can be a complicated, frustrating experience for members, but there are tools that can help make the process easier. A few employee benefits administrators use a “digital toolbox” to house an employer’s offerings, a single URL that serves as a central location for educational, support, and communications-related resources for members. This toolbox is loaded with brochures and flyers, videos, healthcare consumer support tools and electronic communications all in one convenient spot. Tools won’t do your employees much good if they don’t open the toolbox and start using them. Getting employees to engage with their healthcare tools is key, and we have three strategies to help empower them.

Why Our Tools Work Harder

Those of us on the front lines recognize better than anyone that Americans, overall, have difficulty understanding healthcare and how to be a good consumer of it. A 2013 survey by Carnegie Mellon found that most American’s don’t have a solid understanding of the cost-sharing elements involved in health benefits plans[1]. Further, a 2016 Gallup poll noted that healthcare costs top U.S. families’ financial concerns[2]. All the more reason to ensure our tools work harder in demonstrating value to employees.
Follow these tips to boost engagement with employees so that they open—and keep opening—your digital toolbox.

Tip 1: Leverage Multiple Channels

According to the Pew Research Center, 95% of Americans own a mobile phone[3], while analysts at Kentico Software found that 69% of consumers appreciate getting texts or e-mails from healthcare providers[4]. Furthermore, according to researchers at Rock Health, 46% of consumers polled in 2016 had used more than three categories of digital health tools, such as telemedicine, wearables, and mobile apps, up from just 19% in 2015[5]. Make sure your toolbox is available on every channel you can, and get the message out. Don’t forget employees’ laptop and desktop computers as a means of communication, too, as well as live, high-touch customer service contact and more old-fashioned, but effective, channels such as posters, flyers and mailers.

Tip 2: Keep It Simple

The world of employee benefits can be a veritable “alphabet soup,” with myriad acronyms and designations to keep track of. Often we are called upon to translate this complex information into bite-sized chunks for employees. For this reason, be sure to keep it simple when describing a toolbox’s contents, access, and instructions for use.

Tip 3: Tell Employees What’s in it for Them

Simply by virtue of its name, a “toolbox” should contain resources to help employees better manage their health and related expenses. For employees to use these tools effectively, they need to understand how each one helps them. Make sure you offer compelling reasons why an employee would want to access each tool.  Keep in mind that employees and their families are increasingly concerned about the cost of healthcare, and showing them how they can save money is very compelling.
 

Bonus: Provide Readily-Available Help

Despite your best communication efforts, many employees won’t know what questions to ask until they use the toolbox. Therefore, it’s important to be clear on who to contact for answers. Make sure you have that information handy before you hand over the toolbox.

Learn More

At Trustmark, we offer a series of digital engagement tools to keep  employees informed of their benefits, whenever and wherever they are, while potentially lowering costs for employers. Contact us to find out more about our digital tools.
 
[1] Sarah Kliff, “Do you understand health insurance? Most people don’t.” Washington Post, Aug. 8, 2013. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2013/08/08/do-you-understand-health-insurance-most-people-dont/
[2] “Healthcare Costs Top U.S. Families’ Financial Concerns.” Gallup News, Apr. 27, 2016. http://news.gallup.com/poll/191126/healthcare-costs-top-families-financial-concerns.aspx
[3] “Mobile Fact Sheet.” Pew Research Center, Feb. 5, 2018. http://www.pewinternet.org/fact-sheet/mobile/
[4] “Kentico Global Survey: Healthcare Provider Websites Play An Important Role, but Still Need Work.” Jul. 22, 2015. https://www.kentico.com/company/press-center/press-releases/2015/kentico-global-survey-healthcare-provider-websites
[5] Ashlee Adams, Mark Shankar, Halle Tecco, “50 things we now know about digital health consumers.” https://rockhealth.com/reports/digital-health-consumer-adoption-2016/