Benefits technology has taken a front seat in many workplaces. This doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering digital medical information has become the norm. But the advantages that benefits tech offers are undeniable, as it facilitates benefits enrollment and provides quick access to benefit plan information.
The future of technology in health care is ever-expanding. One thing is certain, though: advancements will continue to improve the overall health care experience for employees and employers alike.
The Role of Benefits Technology in Health Care
Today, the technology used to manage benefits comes in many forms. There are cloud servers, fitness wearables, health care points of service and self-managed tools that gather and analyze data so that employees can become more informed consumers. This same data is shared among medical providers, employers and insurance carriers to track health trends, offer improved care and reduce health care waste.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is making its way onto the scene, as well. “By reading into vocal tone, AI platforms could perhaps detect depression, or potentially even underlying chronic conditions such as heart disease,” notes Healthcare IT News.
The Driving Force Behind Benefits Technology
The main catalyst for the increasing use of benefits tech is the rapidly increasing cost of health care. Even with health care reform in full swing, it’s estimated that insurance premiums have risen by 206 percent since 1999, based on data from the Kaiser/HRET 2017 Employer Health Benefits Survey.
The increasing advances in health technology are also adding to rising expenses. The Hastings Center reports that “new or increased use of new medical technology contributes 40-50 percent to annual cost increases.” Cost containment, then, is the impetus that benefits technology must find ways to offset.
Making Health Care Better for Patients
Another reason employee benefits have taken on an increasingly important role in managing health care is the industry-wide shift toward patient-centered care. According to Christine Queally Foisey, president and CEO of MedSafe, health care technology is increasing the effectiveness of patient care in many ways. This includes improved (and more accurate) patient records, seamless communication between clinicians, a reduction in medication errors and more focus on the patient.
Increasing Control Over Wellness
Thanks to technology, patients have more control over their health care benefits and wellness behaviors than ever before. Wearable fitness devices allow individuals to monitor daily success with fitness goals, insurance benefit usage information is available 24/7 via mobile platforms and corporate wellness programs include access to self-management tools. Consumers are in the driver’s seat when it comes to making important medical decisions.
As we move into a new decade of health care, employee benefits technology is likely to become a regular part of our world when managing personal health needs. Getting familiar with it now could significantly benefit your business.