Integrated health

An integrated approach to healthcare

In the current climate employers are striving for a healthy and productive workforce within much tighter budgets.

There is greater pressure to achieve maximum value from current benefit spend and to evidence a positive return on investment. With an ageing working population the need to future-proof benefits has never been greater.

It is no longer just about ensuring costs and benefit designs are competitive and fit for purpose. Increasingly, organisations are seeking to maximise usage of health support, creating an integrated approach to claims analysis and management. This, along with effective processes and pathways across all health benefits, will help to create efficiencies and ultimately deliver greater value.

Add ‘Maximising the value of benefit spend’ wheel.

Why take a more integrated approach?

Without proper recording and processes for monitoring sickness absence, organisations cannot begin to improve its management as they often lack credible data. Our Health, Wellbeing and Productivity Survey 2015/2016 found that 20% of companies still do not track absence effectively. This in turn has prevented many employers from being able to understand the main causes of absence and the associated costs.

However, a lack of absence data does not prevent an employer from addressing its employees’ health risks or identifying the steps that can be taken to help mitigate these. Employers are utilising the support offered by group income protection providers in rehabilitating absent employees. Clinical pathways are being developed to help signpost absent employees to appropriate services to help with their medical condition. These are just two examples of steps being taken to improve the performance of health benefits.

Our research tells us that 45% of employers currently address the top causes of absence, such as musculoskeletal issues or stress, with specific interventions. This helps to demonstrate how important claims data reporting is in understanding specific health issues and the effectiveness of a targeted approach.Of course, this approach acts as a very effective pre-cursor to the development of wellness strategies and programmes. However, whilst employers are turning their attention to the preventative measures wellness presents, there is still a strong case for getting your benefits in order too: that is, making sure any quick wins are identified and actioned.

How can Willis Towers Watson help?

Using our breadth of experience when managing health benefits for our clients, we have been able to develop an effective, integrated approach to analysing claims data and management information.

Our starting point is to draw on a wide range of data sources that build a picture of the current state of health of employees, the effectiveness of programmes and the use of targeted interventions.

We analyse these data sources in detail and the key headlines are extracted and reported on as part of our health audit dashboards (Figure 1). To provide much greater context, we also delve deeper into the evidence provided and expand our analysis, drawing on various data sources to support our results.

We then bring this together to formulate an action plan for our client, identifying priorities and the potential impact of our recommended solution.

Successful outcomes for our clients

Our clients have valued our detailed analysis and insights along with our ability to provide a cross benefit assessment of claim trends, processes and interventions. The results have helped our clients to formulate their plans more effectively and to focus their attention on key priorities.

Outcomes for our clients

The depth of our review, coupled with our focus on managed spend, effective processes and targeted support, has led to the following:

  • Improved absence processes and management, enabling greater intervention and speedier returns to work.
  • A consistent approach to occupational health support to reduce periods of absence.
  • Appropriate clinical pathways being put in place so that employees requiring treatment are managed more effectively.
  • Greater integration of providers to ensure benefit usage is maximised and interventions are timely.
  • Fit-for-purpose benefits and identification of redesign options.
  • A thorough understanding of health risks and priorities to help frame preventative measures which could be introduced in support of a wellbeing strategy.
  • Identification of return on investment measurements to improve the business case.


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