A critical success factor of strong leadership in the 21st century is the way we effectively manage change: how we respond to the impacts of our technology-driven world, and make the right decisions to capitalize on today, while preparing for the future. Today’s leaders face waves of disruption larger than they have ever experienced, especially in Healthcare. Acceleration of the mobile workforce, chatbots, telemedicine, rapid innovations in AI, robotics, advanced algorithms, and even 3D printing are becoming commonplace, and this is just the beginning.
To thrive in this new reality, we need the courage to adapt and the will to innovate. Fortunately, many US employers are doing just that in the vital area of healthcare for their people. They are driving innovations that improve outcomes and lower costs. Serving Mercer’s 23,000 employees as its CEO, and with a client base that touches 115 million lives every day, we strive to walk the walk and talk the talk. One of the ways in which we are doing this is by partnering with other leaders and innovators.
Recently, Mercer released a new white paper in collaboration with the American Benefits Council (ABC) focused on how every leader can capitalize on ever-evolving healthcare innovations. ABC is the national trade association whose members either sponsor directly or administer retirement and health plans covering more than 100 million Americans.
Leading the Way: Employer Innovations in Health Coverage, describes programs developed by a diverse collection of large employers. We hope this inspires companies to innovate just as aggressively, aligning payment with value, incentivizing quality care, and personalizing the employee experience.
When it comes to recruiting and retaining the best talent for tomorrow’s workforce, health benefits are a key driver of employee engagement, and technology can revolutionize how healthcare is experienced. The time for action is now. A recent article in MMC’s risk news service, BRINK detailed how disruptive digital platforms are potential saviors for healthcare systems that are “fragmented, physician-centric, siloed, and disconnected from the holistic needs of patients.”
Enabling Mercer’s partnership with the Council on the issue of healthcare innovation is exciting. Council President James Klein says, “Employers’ role in our health care system is often taken for granted. But the case studies in this report clearly illustrate that employers, in their capacity as plan sponsors, are saving lives and helping to restrain costs.” Together, we are looking to bring all organizations together to effect real change.
The report has been shared with policymakers in Congress, the executive branch, state officials and other opinion leaders to underscore the importance of enabling employers to address the challenges of our current system. Tracy Watts, Mercer’s US Health Reform Leader and member of the Council’s Board of Directors, comments that, “Taken together, these efforts can have a positive impact on employer bottom lines and America’s competitiveness in the global economy.”
In meetings with Democratic and Republican leaders on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Tracy and I pointed out how employers have been successful in managing healthcare costs; driving better quality and outcomes; and improving workforce health and productivity. The lawmakers we met with expressed interest in learning about how, for example, Boeing set up Accountable Care Organizations to address poor care coordination and achieved better outcomes, higher member satisfaction and overall healthcare delivery efficiencies.
I’m confident in leading a powerful initiative on the future of healthcare in America. These innovations and changes can have a positive impact on the workforce of the future. Online wellness programs, on-site clinics, and advances in telemedicine have been embraced by organizations and employees already. New innovations are only gaining momentum. I’m grateful to the organizations who allowed their stories to be told, including:
Activision Blizzard @ATVI_AB
KBR, Inc. @KBRNewsroom
Portico Benefit Services
Princeton University @Princeton
The stories highlighted in the ABC/Mercer white paper are just one example of how successful employers can be better leaders, especially in managing cost, driving better quality and outcomes, and improving workforce health and productivity.