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Using Data to Make Better Health Plan Decisions
By Richard Moggio, MD

A foremost healthcare issue within corporations is how to provide quality healthcare coverage while controlling costs. Utilizing a company’s health data in both analytic and creative ways can help provide employees with high-quality healthcare without a significant increase in cost sharing or a decrease in benefits. Achieving these goals involves knowing how to properly access, analyze, and deploy a company’s health data so that decision makers know how, when, and where healthcare costs occur so that plan design can be modified accordingly.

At L-3 Communications, that is exactly what we are doing, and the results have exceeded our expectations. By working closely with our data partner, HDMS, we have been able to offer comprehensive health coverage options while also developing popular new programs that meet the specific needs of employees and their families. A significant driving force behind the success of our health programs has been our emphasis on—and use of—health data to drive plan and benefit decisions.

As L-3 expanded through acquisition and the addition of services, we encountered myriad business cultures with multiple healthcare providers—each with unique benefits and cost structures. Moreover, we had few resources to compare the quality and effectiveness of the various plans to determine the best offerings for L-3’s growing beneficiary pool.

L-3’s goal was to provide uniform benefits within an efficient cost structure. To accomplish this, we needed to analyze the quality, costs, utilization, and outcomes of the multiple options and benchmark all the plans against one another—as well as against national standards—to see which ones offered the most effective coverage to our employees. To develop an organized process for assessing information across all the plans, we looked to HDMS to help us analyze our vast amount of health data so that we could make smarter, more informed coverage decisions.

HDMS was able to collect our data and analyze it in highly specialized ways that enabled us to effectively set up a process of health plan review as L-3 continued to grow, allowing us to reduce the number of carriers, provide uniform coverage, and take advantage of economies of scale.

Since our initial partnership with HDMS, we have continued to expand our relationship and have recently developed systems and processes for utilizing data to drive our healthcare decisions. Our new wellness and prevention program is just one example of how health data pays tremendous dividends for both the employer and the employees with respect to coverage options.

To create our internal, incentive-driven health management and preventive services program, which we call Choose Good Health, we looked at how L-3’s members were using preventive screenings and examinations and were able to identify areas of underutilization that we wanted to improve. By working with HDMS and analyzing our aggregate health data, we determined our needs and goals, designed the programs accordingly, and then offered them to our employees and enrolled dependents.

Since its inception in 2008, Choose Good Health has become extremely popular among L-3’s employees. The program has improved the use of preventive screenings, health assessments, and disease management, processes that have, in turn, improved the overall health of the L-3 population. Our focus on prevention and early intervention has helped reduce the number of emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and other costly health services while helping decrease our overall health costs.

The importance of healthcare utilization information on plan design, cost sharing, and benefits offered will continue to increase. At L-3, we greatly appreciate the insights and high-quality analytics that we receive from HDMS. With an emphasis on sound, data-driven decisions, our collaboration has made us a smarter, more efficient, and healthier company.

— Richard Moggio, MD, is medical director for L-3 Communications, a defense contractor based in New York City.