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The Benefits of Consolidating your HRAs Under One Vendor

By James Bennett, Director of Client Services at Wellsource

Making any buying decision, whether it’s for work or play, usually comes with a bit of research. And deciding which health risk assessment (HRA) vendor to sign with is no different.

Consolidate-under-one-vendor-march-2020As Director of Client Services at Wellsource, I get the opportunity to work firsthand with clients who are in the midst of this process. A process that can quickly become overwhelming. There are so many vendors offering competing products that all claim to achieve the same result—providing participants with feedback on their health risks—that it all begins to blur together after a while.

Whenever I find myself in this situation, my approach is to work closely with our clients to help them make an informed decision about which products best meet their organization and population’s needs — and avoid a situation where they end up doubling their work because they’re juggling multiple vendors, applications, and platforms.

Deciding to consolidate multiple HRAs under one vendor: Ease of Use

I know that the quality of the product—along with budget—are top concerns. But another factor to consider is the ease of use. In fact, according to the Virgin Pulse The Business of Healthy Employees 2019 survey 66% of respondents cite “ease of use” as one of their primary concerns.

So how do you know which product will be the best fit? And, if an organization serves more than one population and is managing a few HRA products across populations to gather data and provide resources, it’s going to become quite the juggling act during—and after—implementation.

Working with a single vendor that can bundle your needs together is a fantastic option. The benefits of doing so include:

  • Having consistent quality in data gathering, analysis, and reporting—and being able to easily compare data across assessments
  • A simpler implementation and onboarding process due to platform and process familiarity
  • An easy-to-manage process for dealing with vendor relations and tech support

So, let’s dive in!

Streamline Quality and Comparisons

Throughout the many conversations I’ve had with prospective and current clients, one thing is always clear—the quality of the product they’re about to invest in (and more specifically the results it delivers) is a top priority.

Since HRA results—and the wellness initiatives they inform—rely on self-reported data, the processes involved in gathering and analyzing data is really important. Questions and selection options should be phrased clearly and in a way that will elicit accurate responses. From there, the way the data is analyzed—and specifically the data and protocols the responses are compared to—should be of the highest standard. Using unreliable data during any portion of the process could result in an inaccurate risk assessment provided to the participant. And providing participants with an inaccurate assessment completely defeats the purpose of the HRA.

Working with a single vendor means you can rest assured that the data protocols are the same across the board.

It’s also obvious that using different products and vendors can mean variation in the level of quality in how the data is gathered, analyzed, and reported. And those differences can lead to occasional headaches for my clients. When they want to compare similar things across populations (for example, whether residents of a particular geographic area—regardless of age or work status—are more likely to be at risk of chronic diseases due to lack of sleep) it becomes difficult if the data was gathered and reported across two different platforms by vastly different methods.

In this instance, working with a single vendor means you’ll be able to compare the datasets much more easily. A single vendor means the data will have been gathered and reported by similar methods and in similar formats—you’ll be comparing apples to apples the whole way through.

Finally—and perhaps most importantly, working with a single vendor means you’ll be able to take advantage of any certification or accreditation opportunities the vendor offers across your whole population. Using, for instance, an NCQA certified vendor across all your populations can help your organization attain the accreditation you might be looking for.

A Feature by Any Other Name…

I get it. You’re busy. I’m busy. We’re all busy! And maybe more so when you’re managing multiple vendors for multiple products.

By working with different organizations to manage products that serve almost the same purpose but for a different audience (think having separate HRA vendors for your Medicaid versus Medicare populations, for example) you may find yourself having to learn new lingo and acronyms. A certain tool or feature at Company A may be called something completely different at Company B even though they do the same thing. Or, conversely, a tool or feature could have the same or similar name at both organizations and be used for two completely different functions.

This can lead to confusion when you’re reviewing notes, trying to set up your internal systems or processes, or communicating with your team.

Working with one vendor means that tools and features will have the same names across their products. You’ll be able to seamlessly move through discussions with customer support and account management contacts and your internal team without having to remember what this company calls this particular “thingamajig.”

Keep It Simple

One of the most frequent concerns I hear from clients looking to administer a variety of HRAs is that they’ve had some difficulties with customer service. Specifically, when one of their participants is having technical difficulties, it can be hard to track down the right source at the right organization to get the support they need.

Working with a single vendor means you’ll be able to track down the information to help a participant faster by going to a single source of information rather than digging through each vendors information to find what you need.

Multiple vendors also means multiple sales associates, account managers, billing departments, invoices… the list goes on and on. When you’re able to work with one vendor to manage the various offerings you need, you can help to consolidate some of those administrative aspects. You also get the added benefit of being able to form a closer working relationship with a partner that has the same passion for your initiatives as you do.

By now, you probably know where I’m going with this. At Wellsource we offer three health risk assessments—Workforce, Medicare, and Medicaid—that will allow you to administer an assessment that you know and trust (and has that coveted NCQA accreditation!) to the various populations you manage. Consolidating your health risk assessments under one partnership means limiting the administrative burden, ensuring your data is consistent, and means you can turn your attention to the quality of your data you collect, rather than parsing the data and trying to align the datasets for analysis.  

Learn more about health risk assessments by downloading our white paper: The 10 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Wellsource HRAs.

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Tags: health risk assessment, HRA, Business Trends

"Good health is your greatest asset. You will never regret a decision to take better care of your health."

Don Hall, DrPH, CHES, Founder Wellsource