Healthcare benefits have come under a more intense spotlight as a result of the pandemic. As employers adjust programs and often add more options to their healthcare benefits, it can get very confusing for employees.
While newer benefits, such as mental health apps or digital therapy, are welcome, employees are left to patch together a network of care options on their own and can miss what they fundamentally need.
To help employees navigate an increasingly complex healthcare system, employers are shifting to systems that are both easier and more complete. And one system, integrative care, can address both of those needs.
For that reason, integrative care will be one of the most valuable benefits in 2021.Integrative care treats the whole person, not just symptoms. It provides multiple treatment options that result in a more comprehensive approach to healthcare.
It delivers results across multiple modalities and offers information in one location. This approach delivers measurable results to both employees and employers.
Why is integrative care the hottest trend in company benefits? Simply put, it is a stronger method of creating optimal health. Backed by multiple medical studies, integrative care provides better health outcomes. This comprehensive approach works across multiple conditions. For example, four out of five people reported less back pain using this method, and three out of four were sleeping better.
Using multiple treatment approaches, as opposed to a single approach of care, treatment can be personalized. With personalized care, employees have access to treatment that is designed to work with their bodies and circumstances.
These new treatments can be incorporated into already-existing care approaches as well. The flexibility that comes with multiple approaches improves long-term adherence to treatment programs, leading to better health outcomes.
As integrative care casts a wide net to incorporate a variety of solutions to health conditions, it takes into account mental health care. Often mental health factors can cause common health conditions to become worse.
A Goodpath Employer Health Index found that the vast majority (almost 80%) of employees with insomnia also experience anxiety and depression symptoms. After following an integrative sleep treatment program (which also addressed mental health), these members confirmed a reduction in sleep aid medications and improved sleep efficiency.
Finally, successful integrative solutions are also digital/physical hybrids. Integrative care can often deliver better results than conventional care – but it has been hard to find as the brick-and-mortar model is often prohibitively expensive.
Creating complete and customized programs for every patient means hosting multiple specialties needed for integrative treatment. Patients need access to doctors, pharmacists, nutritionists and specialists like physical therapists, sleep experts and mind-body therapists. That is where programs like Goodpath come in.
At Goodpath, we built a scalable platform that blends the expertise of 15 different medical disciplines to create custom and targeted programs for every individual. Because Goodpath is also digital, it is untethered to a brick-and-mortar location and instead works where the employee is.
Goodpath programs are a blend of physical products delivered directly to a member, digital care accessed via an app and end-to-end management by dedicated health coaches. By making care available anywhere, programs like this build on the trend in telehealth.
Reduced healthcare costs
Integrative care also brings benefits to employers, making it desirable to CFOs and Benefits Managers alike. From a return-on-investment perspective, integrative care pays back much more than 1x its value.
For back pain alone, an integrative approach could save upwards of $6,000 in healthcare costs per employee per year. That saving is directly tied to lowered medical costs, most often from surgeries avoided, doctor visits not needed, and lower pharmaceutical spending.
Integrative care also improves productivity and reduces days lost per year to medical absence. The average person with a musculoskeletal issue can lose 12 days of productivity per year.
However, by engaging in integrative care, which focuses on both short- and long-term care, employers can help employees address current symptoms while simultaneously providing preventative care. This combined approach helps immediate conditions improve and also keeps conditions from worsening.
Beyond the purely financial, integrative care helps in VOI (the value of investment). Taking a view that expands beyond cost calculations, integrative care can help the business enterprise in areas such as talent attraction and retention.
A recent survey found that quality benefits play a significant role in retention, with 56% of employees saying benefits are an important factor in staying with their employers. Another survey found that 90% of millennials want an integrative approach to their health benefits.
Finally, integrative care pays dividends. By giving employees what they ask for with strong health and wellness offerings like integrative care, a company can create measurable external value beyond health results. A recent Deloitte report showed that companies with high health and wellness scores had a 75% greater stock appreciation over six years than the overall S&P.
Improving employee health is always a core strategy of any company, and 2021 will present even more challenges. Goodpath recently completed an analysis that forecasts costs for treating musculoskeletal conditions will increase 38% over what they were in 2019.
Musculoskeletal conditions are already the largest part of employer healthcare spending and integrative care is an especially good solution to address this particular issue.
Looking across healthcare needs, integrative healthcare stands out making it one of the benefits that employers should offer in 2021. This system provides clear benefits to all stakeholders with its ability to give employees better health results while offering employers a direct return-on-investment.