How Leading Employers Evaluate Point Solutions

March 13, 2023
Michael Cochran

How Leading Employers Evaluate Point Solutions

In today’s benefits landscape there would appear to be two primary strategies for employers in managing the health of their member populations.  One strategy is to leverage the employers’ health plan for a majority of health management programs.  The other strategy is for the employer to build their own benefits and health management portfolios themselves, leveraging best in class suppliers and point solutions.  But, with an ever-increasing number of suppliers in their benefits plans, how can benefits teams really know which point solutions are actually adding value to their healthcare plan - and not just additional expense? 

It’s a complicated question, so we asked a leading Fortune 100 company (who just so happens to be one of our customers) how they do this. Here's what they shared with us.

Start with a problem statement  

You can only know what kind of point solution you need, or if you need a new one, if you understand what problem you're trying to solve. This might sound obvious, but we’ve repeatedly found that this core element sometimes gets lost in the noise. The problem statement describes the symptoms of what problem you're trying to address based on your current operations. It defines the problem, identifies where the problem is showing up, the size of the problem, and the impact the problem has on the organization. When in doubt, it may be helpful to follow the 5W3H framework to build your problem statement:

  • Who does the problem affect?
  • What is the issue?
  • When does the issue occur?
  • Where is the issue occurring?
  • Why is it essential that we fix the issue?
  • How do we know this is a problem?
  • How many people are impacted by the problem?
  • How much is this problem costing us?

Once you know what problem you're trying to solve, ask yourself, "Does my current solution solve it?" If your current solution satisfies your problem statement you can turn your focus on measuring results.  If it doesn't solve the problem outlined in your problem statement, you're ready to start evaluating new point solutions. 

Define your evaluation criteria

There are three broad criteria to consider when evaluating a new point solution: desired outcome, employer value, and employee reception. These may seem simple but taking time to contemplate these criteria is essential to choosing a point solution that meets the needs of your organization.   

Desired outcome

Once you have defined your problem statement you are now ready to determine your desired outcome. Are you looking to save money, ameliorate a particular disease state, or improve attraction and retention?  With your problem statement as the foundation, does the point solution you are evaluating satisfy your desired outcome?

Employer value

When you're looking to implement a new point solution, it’s helpful to determine how much value it drives for your company and if it's a good use of time, resources and money.  As you know, implementing and onboarding a new solution can be time and labor intensive. New point solutions take time to ramp up and therefore, do not always deliver an immediate return on investment. It may be beneficial to determine other ways to measure value. Does the point solution help to meet a gap or need in the benefits portfolio? Does it integrate with other solutions in your portfolio?  Does the point solution you are evaluating share a common vision and mission with your company and where you want to go with your benefits strategy?

Employee reception

The point solution will most likely have an impact on your employees, and possibly their family members, especially if they have a direct interaction with it.  That said, it's crucial to understand how they will interact with the point solution. A successful engagement strategy often requires a mult-channel perspective whether it be mobile, PC-based or print. What channel do your employees use most?  Is this different for spouses and dependents - assuming they are eligible for the program?  Another critical element to your evaluation should be whether your point solution can provide resources to support your communications strategy. 

Measuring the success of your point solution

While there are several ways to measure the success of your point solution, there are two primary categories for measurement: process measures and outcome measures. Process measures are generally tied to implementation and ongoing administration.  Outcome measures are usually the more tangible results employers are looking for when selecting a point solution. While outcome measures usually carry more weight - and potentially fees at risk - they can take time to realize. In that case, process measures can be an important yardstick before outcomes can be measured. 

Process Measures:

  • Implementation milestones, data accuracy, reporting delivery, turnaround time, speed to answer, technology uptime/downtime

Outcome Measures: 

  • ROI, engagement (registration, member interactions, web page clicks), productivity gains, reduction in disease state, improvement in risk scores, satisfaction survey results

The Abett Lockbox can help you with this process 

With the plethora of point solutions most employers deploy today, how easy is it for you to acquire the data available to measure program effectiveness? The Abett Lockbox can be a valuable resource for employers when it comes to managing and evaluating point solution value.  

The Lockbox simplifies benefits data management with unequaled access to ALL of your benefits data - not just what your suppliers are willing to provide.  Without full access to your data it’s virtually impossible to measure point solution effectiveness. With the Lockbox you control the data, resulting in fewer data feeds, reduced security risks, and lower data feed costs. Ultimately, the Lockbox will enable you to execute your benefits strategy quicker with more precision and effectiveness.  In addition, the Lockbox improves employers' ability to hold vendors accountable (via price transparency data) and their ability to switch vendors more efficiently. 

The Lockbox is a data logistics hub that centralizes and standardizes your data. It provides real-time actionable insights into your benefits plan performance, allowing you to identify when new point solutions are needed, and gives you insights into the real ROI of your existing vendors. determining what, if any, value your point solution is providing. 

It’s your data, we get you full and transparent access to it. Contact us to learn more.