WASHINGTON – May 26, 2021 – Employers and other private healthcare purchasers who provide coverage for more than 180 million Americans are seeking more evidence that supports improved patient-centered outcomes. The National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions (National Alliance) released a whitepaper, “Making Comparative Effectiveness Research a Stronger, More Relevant Tool for Employers,” highlighting the need for research around the structures, processes and outcomes required to build healthy organizations and workforces.
The project was funded through a Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award (12856).
“Our analysis focused on the importance of expanding future research funded by PCORI to include metrics that impact a broader health-focused stakeholder group, not just the clinical community,” said Margaret Rehayem, National Alliance vice president and project lead. “Employers want to improve patient-centered outcomes and better address social determinants and health equity issues impacting employees and their families. Having access to findings that support a more comprehensive approach to benefits planning and implementation of relevant programs and services can support purchaser efforts to improve the wellbeing of their employees and organizations.”
The whitepaper identified critical organizing principles to support better management of workforce health and wellbeing and strongly suggests that future research consider the following practices:
- Consider health and wellbeing in all policies and practices. Virtually every organizational policy and practice has the potential to affect employee health and wellbeing. The impact may be subtle (access to healthy foods) or profound (no paid sick leave). The health and wellbeing impact may only be experienced by a subgroup of employees. Research could assess the impact of different organizational practices that inadvertently have a negative impact on individuals’ health and wellbeing and, consequently, on business performance over time.
- Focus on value, not just cost. Organizations that adopt a broader perspective of value that goes beyond cost will be better able to evaluate changes in benefits. Future research should support employer decision making through such evaluation.
- Measure both employer-relevant and employee-centered inputs and outputs. For many employers, this data often already exists and can be found in an array of different organizational silos. Future research should help employers bring these sources of data together into a research-ready infrastructure to obtain new insights on the impact of programs and policies.
- Evaluate and focus on health equity and inclusion. Organizations are increasingly seeking to be responsive to the diversity of their populations, the circumstances of employees, and the broader needs of their communities through their overall health strategy, including health plan interventions and engagement.
- Manage strategically as a business process: Employers want to manage workforce investments the same way they manage other business activities. To support these efforts, researchers will need ways to locate and aggregate data, access validated business measures already in widespread organizational use, and bring in additional data and measures to complement clinical and patient-centered outcomes to create a more comprehensive, holistic picture.
“PCORI’s mission is to fund relevant and impactful comparative clinical effectiveness research that informs patient, caregiver and stakeholder decisions,” said Greg Martin, Acting Chief Engagement and Dissemination Officer for PCORI. “Through engagement and partnership with key stakeholders within the employer and purchaser communities, and with our expanded authority to consider the full range of outcomes in PCORI-funded research, PCORI is well-positioned to support employer efforts to improve patient-centered outcomes.”
About National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions
The National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions (National Alliance) is the only nonprofit, purchaser-led organization with a national and regional structure dedicated to driving health and healthcare value across the country. Its members represent private and public sector, nonprofit, and Taft-Hartley organizations, and more than 45 million Americans, spending over $300 billion annually on healthcare. To learn more, visit nationalalliancehealth.org and connect with us on Twitter and LinkedIn.
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