Understanding healthcare needs for a group of employees (and caregivers)

March 30, 2018 / By L. Gordon Moore, MD

I’m always on the lookout for examples of groups doing interesting work to help people achieve better outcomes. At a conference in Seattle this past January, I listened to Pablo Brown-Rodriguez describe how his group dug deep in order to understand the needs of the people whose benefits they cover. He described digging into health insurance claims data, surveying the people, running focus groups and visiting people in their work. 

The panel discussion left me wanting to hear more and I was thrilled when he and his colleague Dr. Leslie Phillips agreed to discuss their work in more depth on the Inside Angle podcast.

What most impressed me is the depth of inquiry, the use of data, and the obvious respect with which the benefits group approaches the needs of the people they serve. The SEIU 775 Benefits Group covers roughly 50k home care workers in the Northwest. While these individuals have access to a highly regarded healthcare delivery system, their needs are high given the nature of their work; home care can be physically and emotionally challenging work leaving little room for self-care.

SEIU 775’s work has led them to offer programs in (among other things) free coaching and emotional support, personalized weight management, safety and mindfulness. All of this is on top of the medical care delivered by a highly respected healthcare delivery system.

I’m impressed by the diligent use of data, willingness to challenge assumptions through respectful inquiry, and the application of resources to support a group of people so that everybody wins: Better health outcomes for home care workers should result in reduced unnecessary health expenditures—to say nothing about the ripple effect of the healthier home care worker better able to support the needs of their clients in the home.

This approach can be translated to any population and would benefit members of a health insurance plan, patients in a health system under a value-based contract, or employees in similar or dissimilar industries.

Listen to the podcast episode with Leslie Phillips and Pablo Brown-Rodriguez: Caring for the Caregivers.

L. Gordon Moore, MD, is Senior Medical Director, Clinical Strategy and Value-based Care for 3M Health Information Systems.