- Clinical and Industry Experts Share Insights Into the Future of the Employer-Sponsored Healthcare Space
Wondr Health, a leading digital behavioral change program, unveiled its employee health, benefits, and workplace predictions as the company looks ahead to 2022. Over the last two years, the pandemic has highlighted the role that employers play in supporting the mental and physical health of employees. Quarantine and isolation created a renewed focus on long-standing issues plaguing the healthcare market, including the metabolic and mental health epidemics, decreased access to care, and declining employee engagement and retention. Industry experts at Wondr Health weigh in on these trending employer pain points and how they will be addressed in 2022 and beyond.
Emerging employer needs will breed a new class of consolidated digital solutions
Consolidation among point solutions is not new to the employer-sponsored healthcare space, but as HR leaders look to support post-pandemic employee needs, they’re not only looking for a streamlined experience but one that is highly personalized. In 2022, there will be a new class of digital platform companies that bring together highly cohesive solutions that focus on an individualized approach to healthcare.
“First, there were single point solutions and a feeding frenzy of M&A activity as investors sought to combine these solutions. Next came the aggregated platform solutions that emerged as a single shopping point and simplified buying for employers; however, they sometimes lack efficacy and ROI. Over the next couple of years, I see ‘custom consolidation’ among the digital health platform companies. Custom consolidation is the employer assessing their employee population health demographics and choosing a handful of prolific digital solutions (2-5) that, when mixed together, create the perfect recipe of ROI, enhanced quality of life, and real-time, topical awareness. It’s the best of single point and aggregated platforms, combined with a splash of current societal dynamics.” – Rob Butler, Chief Executive Officer
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Rising metabolic and mental health epidemics bring mental and physical preventive care to the forefront
“The challenges of the last two years—the pandemic, declining mental health, social unrest, work-life balance, etc.—have resulted in a physically and mentally exhausted workforce that’s more prone to burnout. Employers who address this directly—with benefits that focus on mental wellness and increasing coping skills, a top-down emphasis on mental wellbeing, and an intentionally supportive environment that cultivates community—will see better engagement and retention.” Dr. Dana Labat, Clinical Psychologist, Wondr Instructor
“Due to pandemic weight gain, stress, and access to care, we’re experiencing a collective shift in metabolic health, increasing the risk for chronic diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular, and some cancers. Those who have previously been healthy might be at-risk now. And those formerly at-risk may be undiagnosed or diagnosed with a chronic disease. This is not going away on its own, and if not addressed, employers can expect a tidal wave of high-cost claims in 2022 and beyond.” – Dr. Tim Church, Chief Medical Officer
Flexibility will be key for employers and employees as the world recovers
While the most common struggles stemming from the last 20 months are financial insecurity, burnout, and stress, everyone is facing unique hardships. As a result, flexibility is a major component of benefit offerings in 2022.
“Employees are struggling mentally, physically, and financially, and are looking to their employers for support more than ever before. To support financially, HR will need to focus on keeping health insurance flat to address an increase in health costs. To address employee burnout and mental health, HR will offer flexible work schedules, remote work, and responsible time off. HR will also need to offer digital mindfulness and health programs that bring support to the fingertips of employees. These benefits help employers combat current challenges, including recruiting employee talent, lowering employee burnout, and strengthening the mental health of employees.” – Emily Taylor, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Human Resource Officer.
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Employers’ approach to digital healthcare technology will continue to evolve
From utilizing digital tools to staying connected to the advancement of health tracking software, the world is continuously finding new ways to use advanced tech. The key to this evolving ecosystem will be to ensure that employees’ physical and mental health is kept at the center.
“The level of investment into the digital space will continue to proliferate and digital diagnostic tools and solutions will be front and center. We all know the power of the smartphone, and now with advancements in computer vision and AI both colliding at once and morphing into the smartphone as the “mothership”, it allows for body scanning and key measurements at the fingertips of the end user. What was thought impossible only a few years ago has become a reality. Combining big data, research, and global population studies will allow technology to track fitness and predict health risks.” – Rob Butler, Chief Executive Officer
“Digital technology is a double-edged sword. Take social media, for example: while it brings convenience and connection, it also can contribute to eating disorders, depression, and unhealthy coping mechanisms. Employers can take advantage of the positive aspects and growth of social media to drive healthier behaviors, inclusivity, and connection. Whether this means forums and online groups, video chats, or virtual workouts — people want to engage on a more fundamental level.” – Dr. Dana Labat, Clinical Psychologist, Wondr Instructor
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