Digital Health: Employers Identify Gaps, Opportunities in Employer-Sponsored Benefits

Do you offer digital health benefits to your workforce? These digital health solutions are gaining popularity among all generations and prove to be a key asset in talent retention.benefits

Castlight Health, Inc., a health benefits platform provider, has released its State of Digital Health: 2018 Annual Report, a comprehensive survey on how employers and employees interact with health and wellness programs, including digital therapeutics, telemedicine, and other apps, tools, and services.

The report found that all of employers’ most commonly offered digital health benefits address health issues that employees rarely report as top health goals. Employers continue to invest in solution categories that they themselves acknowledge have the weakest business case or lowest engagement. These include Employee Assistance Programs (EAPs), Smoking Cessation Programs, and Health Risk Assessments which are widely implemented, but fall short of employers’ expectation for their impact on employee health and satisfaction.

“Employers have access to an explosion of new digital health solutions, but most of them continue to offer the same solutions they always have, even though they are not delivering better health or cost-savings,” said Pierce Graham-Jones, Senior Vice President of Growth at Castlight Health—in a press release. “To realize the full promise of digital health innovation, employers need to identify solutions that hit the sweet spot, driving engagement, increasing employee satisfaction, all while delivering a strong business case.”

Employees are finding the digital health solutions that meet their health goals, with or without their employer. Employees are using technology to help them lose weight and sleep better—two of the top three health goals employees identified in the survey—and are 5.9 times and 5.8 times more likely, respectively, to access that technology directly, rather than through their employer. Overall, employees are 1.8 times more likely to consume digital health directly, rather than accessing through their employer.

The report details how employers and employees perceive digital health and benefits, how their perspectives align or differ, and the key opportunities for employers implementing digital health.

Other key findings include:

Among Employers:

  • 2018 will be a breakout year for financial wellness. With 23% of employers surveyed committed to offering, or considering offering, a financial wellness solution in 2018, financial wellness is the fastest growing solution for 2018.
  • Employers are incorporating a number of digital health solutions that meet discreet health needs into their benefits programs. The average employer offers 14 solutions, 9 procured from a health plan, 5 from a third-party vendor. Employers with 15,000 or more employees are even more likely to offer additional solutions, with 30% offering 20 or more solutions.

Among Employees:

  • Employees have no shortage of digital health enthusiasm. With 98% of employees having utilized at least one form of health technology, the demand taps into all generations.
  • No matter the generation, all demand digital health. Overall, every generation is using digital health tools. Currently, Millennials are only 1.2 times more likely to use digital health solutions than Gen X’ers or Boomers.
  • All generations share some of the same health goals. Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Gen X’ers all named losing weight, reducing stress, and sleeping better as top health goals.
  • Employees are open to more skin in the game. More than 50% of employees currently using a children’s health and obesity tool, pregnancy program, smoking cessation program, or diabetes management tool would be willing to contribute more than $1 per month. More than 20% of employees currently using a chronic condition management tool, mental health program, gym, weight loss, or retirement savings solution would contribute more than $6 per month.

“It’s clear that employers and employees both recognize the immense potential of digital health tools,” said Derek Newell, President of Castlight Health. “This common interest presents a big opportunity for employers to use data to better align their investment in digital health solutions with employees’ goals and needs.”

The first-of-its-kind report, featured data from a survey of nearly 350 U.S.-based large employers—and more than 1,000 employees—about engagement, satisfaction, and the return-on-investment of digital health tools. The full results of the survey can be found here.

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