As 2013 comes to a close, I am reminded of the many things Change Healthcare accomplished this year…how we continued to develop our company and our product offerings; how we positively impacted our clients’ healthcare cost trends; and, most importantly, how we continued to improve the lives of individuals across the country with consumer engagement and cost transparency solutions that make shopping for healthcare simple. Here are a few of the highlights:
In February, we launched Healthcare UniversityTM, an interactive series of videos, quizzes and challenges that leverages game mechanics to teach consumers the basics of healthcare and how to make value-based healthcare decisions. The first of its kind in the consumer engagement space, Healthcare University is already making a difference for individuals nationwide.
In April, Change Healthcare introduced Spanish-language versions of Healthcare University, Ways to SaveTM Alerts, Targeted Engagement Alerts and Cost Lookup – enabling our clients to expand their reach and experience increased ROI.
In August, we closed on another round of financing. We will use the new funds to respond to the growing call for cost transparency and consumer engagement in healthcare by expanding our sales and marketing efforts and accelerating product development. A special thanks to HLM Venture Partners, Noro-Moseley Partners, BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners, Sandbox Industries, Mitsui & Co. Global Investment, Inc., Gary and Mary West Health Investment Fund, LLC, and Solidus Co. for their support in the endeavor.
Change Healthcare was also named to Modern Healthcare’s prestigious “100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare” list in August. (In November, we learned that we were ranked No. 38 overall and No. 13 in the Small Companies category!)
In early December, we announced that Change Healthcare will be a part of a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded research study on the value of cost transparency in healthcare. We will partner with NORC at the University of Chicago and client Cerner Corporation on the two-year effort.
And throughout 2013, we launched a host of new health plan and employer clients – enabling millions of their plan members and employees to make value-based decisions that are good for their health and good for their wallets. We also had the opportunity to speak on the importance of consumer engagement in healthcare at a number of significant industry events, including IHC FORUM East and West, Business Health Agenda 2013, NEBGH’s Annual Conference, NBGH’s Annual Conference, several AHIP events and, most recently, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s National Summit on Healthcare Price, Cost and Quality Transparency.
Yes, it’s been a wonderful year. And we look forward to continuing our efforts to change healthcare in 2014.
We live in the age of “healthcare consumerism.” An age where individuals are expected to shoulder more of the burden of their healthcare costs. An age where they’re told to comparison shop for prescription drugs and medical services like they would for a TV or computer. An age where they’re supposed to make “value-based” healthcare decisions – decisions that take into consideration quality AND cost.
Sadly, study after study shows that most Americans aren’t equipped with the tools or know-how to meet these expectations. In fact, only 14% of consumers understand common health benefits concepts, including deductible, copay, coinsurance and out-of-pocket maximum. And only 26% of workers always understand everything that’s covered by their health insurance policy – yet 90% elect the same benefit coverage year after year.
So, how can plan sponsors help their employees or members connect the dots (and encourage cost savings all-around)? With an engagement strategy that educates, engages and empowers not just during Open Enrollment, but throughout the year.
Such a strategy:
- Delivers personalized solutions that are relevant to the individual;
- Creates awareness of resources available to help;
- Educates on health benefits basics and how to be a better healthcare consumer;
- Reaches out proactively, again and again, with savings opportunities and health and wellness reminders; and, most importantly,
- Encourages sustained engagement to drive long-term behavior change, transforming passive healthcare users into proactive healthcare consumers.
The best part? Such a strategy also drives real ROI by helping your business control its healthcare cost growth trend, improve population health and increase employee/member satisfaction.
Want to learn more? I invite you to engage with us today at www.changehealthcare.com.
Cerner’s Employee Engagement Efforts Have Been a Tremendous Success…and We’ve Got the Data to Prove It
I recently had an opportunity to speak at the National Business Group on Health’s 27th Annual Conference on Health, Productivity and Human Capital. I was joined by Larry Van Horn, Executive Director of Health Affairs at Vanderbilt University’s Owen School of Business, and Arielle Bogorad, Director of Benefits Strategy & Wellness Initiatives at Cerner Corporation. Together, we examined how engaging employees in their healthcare can improve population health, drive employee satisfaction and save both employers and employees money. Specifically, we presented a snapshot of the strong results Cerner is seeing as a result of its engagement efforts. Here’s what our case study looked like:
Using a claims-verified savings methodology, developed by Change Healthcare in partnership with an academic from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, we looked at employee utilization of healthcare services from July 2012 to June 2013.
Specific to our Ways to Save Alerts, which were used to notify Cerner employees of opportunities to save on their most common and recurring medical, dental and prescription purchases, we found:
- 80% of employees received a Ways to Save Alert.
- 66% of these were acted upon.
- The average savings per purchaser on medical was $138.
- The average savings per purchaser on pharmacy was $378.
- The total average savings per purchaser was $516.
Specific to Cost Lookup, our easy-to-use, web-based tool that helped Cerner employees search for prescriptions and healthcare services, and see what they could expect to pay at a specific provider – based on their health plan, network and location, we found:
- 55% of active employees logged in and searched using Cost Lookup.
- The average savings per purchaser on medical was $141.
- The average savings per purchaser on pharmacy was $312.
- The total average savings per purchaser was $453.
- In addition, engaged employees performed an average of 4.3 Cost Lookup searches per year, demonstrating long-term behavior change.
As you can see from these results, one thing we know – and are reminded of day after day – is that if you give employees the tools they need to shop for care and, more importantly, engage them in a personalized, proactive way, they will adopt a consumer mentality. What could this mean for your business? Happier, healthier employees and cost savings all-around. Want to learn more? I invite you to engage with Change Healthcare today.
SuperNova Award Finalist Gets Its Game On with Healthcare University
Each year, research and advisory firm Constellation Research hosts the SuperNova Awards to recognize companies who successfully apply emerging and disruptive technologies for their organizations. This year, we’re proud to announce Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota is a finalist for their work with us on Healthcare University in not one, but two categories:
Here’s why. The results of our pilot with BCBSMN were pretty impressive. The goal was to recruit 20 percent of the company’s employees to Healthcare University. Registration rates exceeded that target by 90 percent. Each user completed 80 percent of the total curriculum on average, awarding the solution an A- for overall satisfaction. Based on this success, BCBSMN plans to offer Healthcare University to its customers during the upcoming open enrollment period – potentially impacting millions of lives.
Here’s where you come in. From September 9 through October 9, Constellation Research is allowing you to participate in choosing your favorite innovator in disruptive technology. Voting is now open and you can cast your vote here. Winners will be announced at the SuperNova Awards Gala Dinner during Connected Enterprise on October 30.
Help support your favorite disruptive technology and don’t forget to vote by October 9! Follow the conversation on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #SNA2013.
Change Healthcare is always an exciting place to be and August was no exception. The month got off to a strong start when we launched another valued client – adding several million lives to our Engagement Platform – and closed on our latest round of financing. For the new funds, we are especially grateful, because they will enable us to respond to the growing call for cost transparency and consumer engagement in healthcare by expanding our sales and marketing efforts and accelerating product development. A sincere thank you to HLM Venture Partners, which led the round; new investor Noro-Moseley Partners; and existing institutional investors BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners, Sandbox Industries, Mitsui & Co. Global Investment, Gary and Mary West Health Investment Fund and Solidus. We appreciate your confidence in who we are and what we’re doing.
Later in August, we received more exciting news: Change Healthcare has been named one of Modern Healthcare’s “100 Best Places to Work in Healthcare” for 2013. This is a prestigious honor, because it affirms our commitment to sustaining a culture that is welcoming, inspiring, supportive and fun. What makes the recognition even more special is that Change Healthcare’s employees were surveyed as a part of the evaluation process. Their positive feedback positioned us for a top 100 ranking – just like their hard work and dedication position us for success each and every day. Thank you, team, for all you do.
What will September and the coming months hold for our company? Much, I’m sure – it’s an exciting time in healthcare and, as I mentioned before, Change Healthcare is an exciting place to be.
This week, Change Healthcare reached another important milestone – we closed on our largest round of financing yet. The round, which was led by HLM Venture Partners, and includes new investor Noro-Moseley Partners, along with existing institutional investors BlueCross BlueShield Venture Partners, Sandbox Industries, Mitsui & Co. Global Investment, Gary and Mary West Health Investment Fund and Solidus, will infuse $15 million into our company. More importantly, it provides market validation of the opportunity and confidence in our ability to improve how Americans purchase healthcare in this country.
In recent months, there’s been a dramatic increase in our nation’s focus on healthcare cost transparency – driven largely by the federal government’s release of medical billing data earlier this year and, of course, the much-talked-about Time magazine article “Bitter Pill”. With this increased focus has come a broader understanding of what Change Healthcare has long known: Consumers not only need healthcare cost information, but also an education in what it means to be a smart healthcare shopper…how to understand basic concepts, like deductible, co-pay and health savings account…how to become engaged healthcare consumers…and how to maximize the value of their healthcare dollar. With each day that passes, we are reminded that Change Healthcare is bringing important solutions to some pretty big problems at just the right time.
For this new funding, we are tremendously grateful. Grateful for the confidence and support of our investors, both old and new. Grateful for the opportunity to continue growing and nurturing a company we believe in so deeply. Grateful to be better positioned to help consumers take control of their healthcare.
With this new funding, we will accomplish much. We will expand our sales and marketing efforts, and accelerate product development. We will bring providers more fully into the cost-transparency conversation. And, we will maintain our position as the market leader in healthcare consumer engagement.
Individuals are increasingly being asked to take greater responsibility for their healthcare. More and more often, they’re being told they should shop for healthcare the way they’d shop for a new television or car – weighing things like cost and quality before opening their wallets.
At Change Healthcare, we have long supported this shift toward healthcare consumerism by providing individuals with personalized cost information. What you may not know is that our solutions also encourage an understanding of quality and value – most importantly that, when it comes to healthcare, high cost doesn’t necessarily equal high quality.1
At Change Healthcare, we remain focused on quality. It’s this focus that has allowed us to solve one of our industry’s greatest challenges: how to give consumers quality information with tremendous depth and breadth, but without complexity. We’ve figured it out! How to make quality information useful! And our users are better healthcare consumers for it. (Case in point, Change Healthcare users are 1.7 times more likely to choose a high quality provider when presented with both quality and cost information.)
Our data comes from among the largest annual group of studies of hospital quality, physician information and patient experiences available in the U.S., including:
- Overall patient satisfaction ratings for providers and hospitals aggregated by Strenuus, HCAHPS and other third-party vendors;
- Clinical efficiency of care and process measure data from HHS, AHRQ, The Joint Commission, paid claims data and strategic partner Comparion; and
- Certifications and specialized recognition of hospitals, preferred network participation, patient safety, and select procedure outcomes-of-care rates from a broad array of leading organizations.
Our platform even allows clients to seamlessly integrate their own preferred quality metrics, if desired.
But it’s what we do with this data that’s most exciting of all: We bring it together in the form of a single, easy-to-understand five-star quality rating – simplifying the consumer decision-making process…delivering depth and breadth without complexity!
1 The State of US Health, 1990-2010: Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors, Journal of the American Medical Association, July 10, 2013)
Earlier this year, Change Healthcare introduced a new product designed to teach consumers the basics of healthcare and how to make value-based healthcare decisions…important stuff, especially when you consider that fewer than 20% of employees understand their health benefits, yet, increasingly, they’re being called upon to bear greater responsibility for their healthcare costs.
Healthcare University uses educational videos, quizzes, games and gamification – things like points, badges and leader boards – to make benefits education fun, easy and impactful. It helps drive down healthcare costs for individuals and their plan sponsors, and supports healthcare consumerism (shopping for care weighing quality and cost).
Change Healthcare was fortunate to have had a great partner in launching Healthcare University: Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota. The health plan allowed us to implement the product with their staff with wonderful results (which we co-presented on a recent AHIP Webinar titled “Engaging Members with Transparency and Gamified Benefits Education”).
Here’s what our launch looked like:
• Two Healthcare University subjects comprised of 10 courses were deployed to 3,369 BCBS-MN employees.
• Employees were made aware of the new tool through a variety of communications.
• Employees were given initial access to Healthcare University from April 11 to May 15.
Results from the five-week introduction to Healthcare University were overwhelmingly positive. 1,246 employees registered to use the tool. 6,350 courses were completed (an average of eight courses per user!). 9,130 videos were watched. 7,573 quizzes were taken. And nearly 20,000 games were played.
These statistics are just the tip of the iceberg! To learn more about utilization by gender and age range, or how the test results look alongside our baseline goals, download the complete case study at http://info.changehealthcare.
And p.s.: If you missed the June 25 AHIP Webinar, log-on to http://media.beaconlive.com/viewitem?bckt=101627 to view it today.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Finance recently held a hearing to discuss the role of price transparency in curbing America’s healthcare cost crisis, recognizing Change Healthcare as an innovator in tackling the important issue. Those who spoke at the session included Steven Brill, author of the much-discussed Time magazine cover story that exposed shocking “sticker prices” hospitals and healthcare systems charge patients.
In his statement to the committee, Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) noted that Change Healthcare offers price transparency tools that can zero in on meaningful pricing information: “These tools can help Americans be smarter consumers. They can help employers and plans form better partnerships with providers that can help keep costs down.” Sen. Baucus hit the nail on the head in this straightforward statement – above all else, we must proactively engage consumers to make more educated decisions about their care and, ultimately, lower costs.
The importance of price transparency in healthcare becomes even more important when you consider the growing popularity of consumer-directed health plans (CDHPs). According to a recent report by the American Association of Preferred Provider Organizations (AAPPO), CDHPs were the only type of health insurance plan that grew in 2012. An estimated 39 million people were enrolled in CDHPs in 2012, up from 33 million in 2011. This percentage will likely continue to grow as companies prepare for the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
The proliferation of CDHPs and imminent shift toward health insurance exchanges is also increasing the use of health savings accounts (HSAs) – another reason to make cost transparency a priority. According to America’s Health Insurance Plans, enrollment in HSAs has reached nearly 15.5 million, growing by almost 15 percent since last year. HSAs place large sums of money in the hands of consumers and rely on them to spend it wisely. How are they to do this without access to complete, accurate cost information?
Price transparency is the first step to changing our healthcare system. Not only do we need to make personalized cost and quality information available to consumers, we also need to educate them on how to use it, and engage them in meaningful ways to make the best healthcare decisions for themselves and their families.
A recent New York Times article titled “The $2.7 Trillion Medical Bill” compares the costs of common medical procedures – like colonoscopies, hip replacements and angiograms – in the U.S. and other developed countries. The article’s findings are shocking, but not surprising. Increasingly we’re hearing about the extreme differences in healthcare costs between our country and others like Spain, Switzerland, France and Canada.
But what about the price variances that exist within the borders of our own country? Within our own cities…our own zip codes…even within a single provider network. Case in point, Change Healthcare’s client data shows the following price ranges for healthcare services for employees in the same geographic area on the same benefit plan:
- Diagnostic screening colonoscopy: $786-$1,819
- Type II Diabetes Screen: $51-$437
- CT Scan: $375-$3,035
“The $2.7 Trillion Medical Bill” (and data like these) reinforces the importance of cost transparency and consumerism in healthcare…the importance of individuals comparison-shopping for care with an eye for quality AND cost.
Of equal importance, the article reinforces the need for better consumer education on the basics of healthcare. Ms. Yapalater, who shares with readers the story of her routine $6,385 colonoscopy, says she has insurance, yet can’t figure out why she has to pay so much. The fact is words like these are uttered far too often – and when people don’t understand things like deductibles and coinsurance, the consumer experience can be surprising and upsetting. It’s a big part of why greater cost transparency without an understanding of the business of healthcare won’t necessarily improve the consumer experience or financial outcomes.
At Change Healthcare, we’re committed to ensuring consumers have the tools and knowledge they need to become engaged, savvy healthcare shoppers. See how we can help educate your employees or plan members as part of a holistic approach to consumer engagement at http://www.changehealthcare.com/product/healthcareuniversity.html.