Integrative health is a hot topic these days for two reasons. First, people are frustrated with our health care system. They’re tired of being bounced around between providers. They’re tired of not getting information or getting conflicting information. And they’re tired of just being another number in the system. Second, all of this is leading to more health care (more isn’t necessarily better) and higher costs.
Self-insured employers are taking notice and are looking for ways to help employees address all aspects of their health. Many are turning to an integrative approach to employee health. Integrative health care addresses how care is received, ensuring that technology and a human touch intersect for the best clinical, social, and financial outcomes.
In this blog post, we’ll talk about integrative health including:
- What makes up integrative health
- Who is impacted
- The effect of poor health on employees and their employers
- Why integrative health care is important
What is Integrative Health?
First, let’s start with the basics. The origins of integrative health began when medical professionals started breaking out of care silos by taking a multidisciplinary team approach. They found that using a “whole person” approach to treat physical, mental, and behavioral health resulted in better outcomes.
They also realized that layering in additional treatment options could speed up recovery and decrease the likelihood of complications in the future. Many of these practices are so common now that we don’t even remember that they were once thought to be unnecessary. Some examples include:
- Physical/massage therapy after injuries and surgeries
- Mental/behavioral therapy after traumas and other life-changing events
- Dietary education and guidance to aid in battling chronic diseases
- Addiction counseling and support
This “whole person” approach is often applied to preventive means as well. The understanding that physical and mental health can mutually affect each other is key to improving overall health and wellbeing.
Impact of Good Employee Health
While it’s easy to look at personal health on an individual level, the reality is it goes much further than that. First, entire families can be affected. Second, friends and other social groups can be affected. And third, employers are affected as well.
An employee population’s health goes beyond sick days and hospital bills. Prioritizing employee health has many benefits. Encouraging a healthy body and mind while supplying support creates an atmosphere that can improve motivation, absenteeism, and employee retention. So, employers are investing more in health benefits for their employees. Empowering employees to invest in their own health and seek out higher quality care drives better outcomes and can ultimately lower costs for both the employer and employee.
Importance of Integrative Health Care
We’ve discussed the details in a previous blog five reasons why employers need integrative health care. Let’s summarize:
- Better Employee Engagement
Getting employees active in their own health naturally increases the overall health of a population. Utilizing specialized outreach advances the likelihood of success. Encouragement is necessary to break through to employees that may not be utilizing programs to their fullest.
- Better Outcomes
By educating and advocating for care from the best providers available, employers can reduce the need for follow-up and continuing care.
- Smarter Decisions
By giving an employee a complete view of their health along with detailed information, they can make better decisions. This can impact daily activities and decisions as well as choosing better care options and seeking preventive care.
- Higher Quality Care
With educational resources and advocacy from medical experts, employees can easily determine the highest quality care providers.
- Cost Savings
Lower health care costs are a direct result of improved health. Lower prescription costs can be achieved through evaluating brands, rebates, and sources.
Health care is a complex and confusing world. The goal of integrative health management is to minimize confusion and guide employees to the best care in an easy-to-access, easy-to-use, and easy-to-understand way. Not only for the employee but for the employer as well. Employees have better access to their benefits and can understand them more easily. Employers gain a better understanding of their population’s health and how the programs are making an impact.
Why This is Important Now and in the Future
Employees are demanding higher quality and more effective benefits. Recent polls show that up to 65% of workers are looking for new employment. The second most popular reason for seeking out new jobs is expanded benefits. Solutions like WellOnMyWay are changing the way they engage with their benefits. These enhanced features were previously thought of as a perk instead of a benefit.
How Integrative Health Solutions Help
Integrative health care creates a better-connected and personalized experience. Having a single source makes it easy for employees and promotes participation. This can include everything from policy and benefit information, tools for physical, mental, and financial health, to medical advocacy and case management. Integrative health also streamlines the entire experience, better coordinating care across programs, services, and providers. For employers, integrative health management solutions like WellOnMyWay are making it easier for employers to get up to speed.
Employers need employees to take advantage of their health benefits to get the most return from them. HR departments are busy. They’re fielding questions on top of their already heavy workload. As a result, the ability to offer outreach to encourage utilization isn’t always feasible. And because of confidentiality and HIPAA, they can’t take a personalized or specific to engage each individual. Relying on a third party for individualized communications that are unique to the employee is a must.
In summary, integrative health care is changing the landscape of employer benefit packages, employee health, and how employees engage in those benefits. With that change comes opportunities for employers to have healthier, happier employees while saving money in the end.