Consumer / Employer

What 4 Employers Want From Health Vendors

Employers are looking for more honesty from their potential health vendor partners. This was the topic of conversation during a Wednesday panel among benefit leaders at the Midwest Business Group on Health conference in Chicago.

There is one key thing employers are looking for from potential health vendors: honesty. This was the topic of conversation during a Wednesday panel among benefit leaders at the Midwest Business Group on Health conference in Chicago.

“We all are promised things when we enter into relationships with vendors. Once you evaluate that in three to four years, how often do we come away and say they delivered exactly what I was expecting? To me, it’s a rare occasion. Be honest with me. There are limitations and there are reasons I want to engage with you, but be honest upfront, create good terms in which we can hold each other accountable … Because the more honest you are, the more I’m going to trust you and the more I’ll want to engage you as a partner potentially,” said Darin Hinderman, workday architect and incentive compensation manager at Caterpillar.

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Joe Toniolo, senior director of health and welfare plans at U.S. Foods, said that in order to gain trust, vendors have to show that they truly care about the work they’re doing in healthcare.

“The phrase that pays for me is passion,” he said. “How passionate are you, the vendor? Is it about making money? Or is it about advancing healthcare? … Is it about helping my associates, my employees, my participants? That’s how you build trust. Do you have the passion?”

Pam Hannon, retirement and healthcare leader of GE Healthcare, agreed with Hinderman and Toniolo’s comments. She said she wants more information from vendors about how their solution is built, what data they’re relying on and what population it’s going to support.

“Who benefits and who doesn’t?” Hannon said. “We don’t buy products and benefits to cover 100% of our employees. Sometimes we buy it to cover 10% because those are the people who need it most. So don’t tell me everyone’s going to love it and it’s going to do everything. Say it’s not going to work for this part of the population … but this group, this is who it’s designed for. Then when I know that, I can make a better decision on not only whether it’s the right fit for us, but then how we can deploy it together.”

Amy Katzoff, senior director of benefits and mobility at Huron Consulting, added that it’s important for vendors to put the patient at the center when pitching solutions to employers.

“I think that’s the problem,” Katzoff said. “A lot of our vendors have lost the patient and are only focusing on the process. … Put the patient first, and if you put the patient first and they know that you’re being honest and being transparent, they will trust you.”

Photo: metamorworks, Getty Images