Surviving point solution overload 

April 27, 2022

It’s not surprising that many benefit managers at large organizations are feeling point solution overload. Funding for US-based digital health startups topped $29B in 2021 – adding to the $23B invested in 2019 and 2020 – and the number of new solutions in the market has never been higher. The challenge is to navigate the myriad options available and ensure that each solution offered is adding value.

Focus on solutions that make sense for your organization

We know from our recent Health on Demand employee research that workers receiving the most varied health and well-being benefits are the most positive about their employers, their jobs and their ability to afford the care they need. But before adding another solution, think about maximizing value. These questions should help:

  • What are your employees saying about areas where they need support? How does this input vary across different employee cohorts?
  • What solutions help support your broader HR and Benefit goals and Employee Value Proposition?
  • What does your data tell you about the key health conditions and cost drivers in your population?
  • Are you getting the maximum value out of the programs that you already have in place?

Consider your broader ecosystem

For a given solution to be effective, you need to understand, and plan for, how it will slot into your broader vendor ecosystem.

  • Do you have the resources to manage another vendor? If not, you might consider an approach that bundles various solutions into a single platform.
  • How will the solution interact with other vendors in your ecosystem?
  • Are there solutions available through your current vendors that will bring value to your portfolio of offerings? If so, how would this approach compare with directly contracting for point solutions?
  • How will you communicate a new program to members, and how will they navigate to it?

Because contracting and privacy and security requirements can be especially tough for new entrants, it’s important to review these thoroughly up-front as part of the selection process to avoid surprises during implementation. Once the vendor is in place, creating referral protocols, tracking referrals across vendors and conducting vendor summits to support integration are key best practices.  

Measure Performance

While it might seem an obvious aspect of optimizing point solution investments, monitoring vendor performance and impact is often overlooked or handled in a cursory fashion. As the marketplace has evolved, contracts have moved from per-employee-per-month pricing to per-engaged-member pricing. The time to negotiate the definitions of engagement and sustained engagement is during the initial sales process. If you have multiple solutions in place, the more consistent the definition, the easier it will be measure engagement across your portfolio of programs.

We recommend a multi-pronged assessment strategy that considers health improvement and cost management outcomes across all interventions (e.g., medical trend), at a segmented level (e.g., trend for those with chronic conditions), and at a program level (e.g., medication compliance rates for those actively engaged in a given program vs. those not enrolled).  Operational, member experience and clinical impact audits are also important tools to verify say versus do and support continuous program improvement.

Refresh, refresh, refresh

The market is constantly changing as new solutions emerge and vendors merge and combine solutions.  To stay on top of what’s new, and potentially more compelling, you’ll need to review your portfolio on a regular schedule. While any new solution will need time to mesh with your ecosystem, after three years the vendor should be able to demonstrate tangible results for your members. If they can’t, the time may be right for a marketplace scan.

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