There’s been no shortage of tools released over the past few years aimed at improving the way healthcare purchasing decisions are made. As most employers know only too well, making wise decisions on this front is no easy feat. But with the combination of valid data and the right kind of tools, employers should find themselves in a much better position to get more value from their healthcare spend.
To that end, the National Business Coalition on Health released first thing yesterday morning at the group’s annual conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., an online decision-support and planning tool called ValuePort. Later that morning, NBCH Chief Operating Officer Karen Linscott walked me through a quick demo of the product, pointing out its various features and how they work together.
Specifically, the tool has three components: a calculator to identify and prioritize areas to improve employee health and realize cost savings for 12 of the most prevalent health risk and chronic conditions (diabetes, obesity, depression, etc.); analysis of the employer’s progress in adopting value-driven health practices; and evidence-based strategies to improve employee health and, in turn, reduce costs. (The tool also includes access to a variety of published case studies and other content.)
ValuePort, which was funded in part by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was tested in a pilot phase this year with seven business health coalitions involving 40 employers. At first, licensing of the product will be limited to coalition member organizations, with each coalition determining how it will market it to its members. Sometime next year, NBCH will make the tool available to third parties and non-member organizations.
A year from now, Linscott said, NBCH has set its sights on having about 15 to 20 coalitions licensing the tool, with each one having between five to seven participating employers.
Linscott said that the tool is designed to give purchasers a “clear understanding of where they are today in terms of opportunities to improve the value of their healthcare spend and trend that improvement over time.”
While she acknowledges other tools are out there, Linscott explained that ValuePort is the only one she’s aware of that brings all of the pieces together.
As more and more employers begin to use the tool, Linscott said, employers will be in an even better position to benchmark other organizations. “Employers are highly motivated by what the Jones are doing and are seeking objective information that shows them whether someone is doing things better than they are,” she added.
Linscott is hopeful ValuePort will be able to deliver that information and more.