In 2014, Cerner wanted to control medical costs while also supporting individuals with complex medical conditions. The Company shifted to a consumer-driven health plan (CDHP) benefits strategy for U.S.-based associates and knew education would be essential to enable more active participation in healthcare decision-making. Key to Cerner’s strategy was offering tools and educational programs that empower associates to make valuable decisions—which can increase quality and reduce unnecessary treatment.
Cerner launched the “My Medical Ally” program, powered by ConsumerMedical, a multi-channel program focused on surgery and treatment decision support, expert second opinion capabilities, and evidence-based information modules for all medical conditions. The Surgery Decision Support® (SDS) program provides evidence-based information and personalized support for a participant’s diagnosis and treatment options. If participants elect to proceed with surgery, ConsumerMedical guides them to Centers of Excellence programs. At the beginning of the program, Cerner offered a $500 incentive to associates facing hip and knee replacements, lower back and weight loss surgery, and hysterectomy—all high-variation, high-cost procedures. In 2019, Cerner introduced a $1,000 penalty/requirement and a predictive model and outreach program to increase program engagement, which resulted in a 315% increase in engagement.
If I hadn’t gotten the second opinion per your recommendations, I would have likely gone forward with a surgery I would not have needed.
Plan design changes and cost-sharing shifts alone may not be sufficient to contain rising healthcare costs over time.
A comprehensive, high-touch medical decision support program can result in significant cost savings and high participant satisfaction.
When they are fully informed about their treatment options, employees are empowered to make smart healthcare decisions.
• Incentives work to drive employee engagement; penalties with predictive analytics can increase utilization even more than incentives.
Penalties do not reduce employee satisfaction with the program.