Survey Finds that Benefit Managers are Patient-Centric in their Decisions around Benefit Design

Tom Parry

Tom Parry

Patient-centeredness is moving to the forefront of healthcare delivery. What is patient-centeredness? It focuses on ensuring a patient’s specific preferences, needs, and values are taken into account in healthcare decisions. Open communications, empathy, and mutual respect between the provider and patient ensue, and we often see enhancement in patient engagement and treatment adherence, improvements in health outcomes, as well as lowering of healthcare costs.

Today, IBI and the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, published findings from our National Employer Survey of 200 benefit managers and found that businesses are also taking this approach in their workforce health management decisions.

The survey, funded by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI), found that when making decisions about health benefits, the needs and interests of employees were considered nearly as—or more important than—policy goals such as attracting and retaining talent and reducing absence and disability lost work time.

Survey finding highlights include:

  • Helping employees improve and sustain good health was a very important health benefits policy goal for 91% of respondents.
  • Ensuring health benefits are affordable to employees, effectively communicating benefits to employers, and managing healthcare and prescription drug expenses were each identified as very important by 90% of those surveyed.
  • Policy goals such as improving value on investment of healthcare spending and facilitating recruitment/retention of talent were reflected as very important less often – by 84% and 80% of the respondents respectively.
  • Employers seem to be putting employees’ healthcare needs and interests at the forefront, but only half or less reported being very confident that they were achieving the desired outcomes. When asked about contributing to employees’ ability to function well on the job, 51% indicated that they were “very confident” that their medical benefits achieved this, while only 27% indicated the same for their wellness/wellbeing programs.
  • Respondents were asked to rate their reliance on experts or professionals who provide input when making decisions that affect their company's health and related benefits. Greatest reliance is on experts within the company (70%), consultants (50%) and pharmacy benefit managers (44%).

On Tuesday, March 17, we hosted a webinar that reviewed these findings and featured an employer panel discussion around the value strategy of incorporating employees needs and interests around their benefits programs. Listen to the webinar recording here .

For the full survey results and appendix, please contact me at