The Truven Health Blog

The latest healthcare topics from a trusted, proven, and unbiased source.

Five Things Employers Want from Health Plan Reporting

By Jennifer Huyck/Thursday, June 19, 2014
Jennifer Huyck imageThese days, health plans are under pressure to deliver more comprehensive and reliable information to their employer clients.

After all, population health is on everyone’s radar, and employers are trying to keep a tight rein on rising costs. Plus, with all the talk of healthcare Big Data, employers have higher expectations of the kinds of information health plans can provide. Information transparency and combining financial and clinical data from multiple sources are becoming critical.

In other words, traditional reporting isn’t going to cut it anymore.

But what, specifically, do employers want from health plan reports?

Based on our partnerships with over 150 of the nation’s largest employers — including 25 percent of Fortune 500® companies — Truven Health experts have compiled the following list of the five most important things employers want when it comes to the health plan reporting.
  1. Acknowledge their different needs. Step away from one-size-fits-all reporting. Each employer client will want to see different slices of data and varying levels of analysis to fit their specific business questions. Reports need to be flexible enough to meet those diverse requests and stakeholders.
  2. Help them educate and inform their senior management team. Benefits managers need to be able to prove to the Powers That Be that the company’s investments in employee health are worth it, and health plan reporting is an important part of that.
  3. Provide consistent, accurate, and timely reporting. Employers want data that they can trust, and they want it quickly.
  4. Show them how to compare themselves to the outside world. Reporting solutions should allow employer clients to compare costs and other points of interest to national and regional benchmarks, so they can identify areas for improvement and recognize successes.
  5. Be consultative and creative. This is perhaps the most notable change in what employers need today versus what they needed in the past. Today, it’s not just about the numbers on a spreadsheet. Employers need those numbers to be meaningful and useful as they try to solve new challenges. And it’s now the health plan’s job to offer guidance along with the numbers.
In short, plans that can provide data and analytics that are flexible and trustworthy, and that answer the “So what?” and the “Now what?” will be the best-positioned to become problem-solving partners that employers can’t live without.

For more details about these five employer reporting needs, download our latest insights brief.

Jennifer Huyck
Vice President, Analytics and Consulting

The Time is Now

By Michael R. Udwin/Friday, November 22, 2013
Michael R Udwin imageMany hospital executives around the country are cautiously communicating with their boards, medical staff, patients and community; attempting to explain why they are facing reimbursement penalties from processes or outcomes which failed to meet established benchmarks.  Beyond these somewhat awkward conversations, what are these leaders expected to do next?

Of course, a natural response might be to find someone to blame, whether it be subordinates, physicians, payers or even government.  Beyond perhaps feeling better having done so, it is not likely this will reduce the likelihood of facing similar penalties next year.  Since credit is afforded to those institutions that make great improvement, many executives view a “low” starting point as an opportunity to recognize significant gains.

So where do you begin?  Data.  Not just any data.  Validated, risk-adjusted and trusted data is the cornerstone upon which to build a strong yet flexible structure, anchored by transparency, accountability and empowerment. This information can be used to construct a pipeline of opportunities, at the procedural or diagnosis level, representing the greatest gap from best practice and impacting the largest number of patients.  With a clear appreciation of organizational bandwidth, it is then possible to strategically launch, implement, and sustain initiatives that recognize inherent strengths while addressing barriers to best practice.

Given the uncertainty within the healthcare community, it is easy to become reflexive or even despondent. Yet, it is in these times of flux that innovation, courage and true leadership emerges.  The data are there. The talent is there. The commitment to excellence is there. So now is the time to take charge on behalf of board members, medical staff, patients, and most importantly community!  

Michael R. Udwin, MD, FACOG
National Medical Director