When we discuss data analytics for employers, it is very easy to get caught in the moment of assessing how different things are going to impact the health care plan from a cost standpoint at an employer level. The focus tends to be on overall premiums and the cost of the health plan during the course of the year. The underlying gem employers often have yet to discover is how the data analytics relate to employees on an individual basis.
There is a saying that all politics is local. I think all personal growth is personal, and for an employee to grow in terms of where he or she wants to be from a health standpoint starts with an assessment of where that employee is now and where he or she wants to be. If an employer can find a way to help employees get to that point, they are actually empowering their employees to become healthier, more productive employees. The process begins with allowing employees to develop a health profile that details current blood pressure readings, blood counts and more. Once they know that information, they have already personalized their health condition and can determine if they want to stop smoking, lose weight or pursue some other activity relating to regular exercise in which they want to engage. Once employees know where they stand, they have something to measure against down the road. If they can measure down the road and achieve improvement, then they actually made very fundamental changes in their personal lives. The changes are automatically going to be attributed to the employer’s health plan because they are part of it. More importantly, they have helped themselves on a personal basis, which is more powerful to individuals and their families. A happier, healthier, more productive employee is a huge benefit to employers as well. If employers view data analytics through this sort of lens, they will mine some gold that they otherwise would not have noticed.