HR benefits leaders put in a lot of time and effort building health benefits packages that take care of their people. But despite the carefully crafted communications, the internal wiki and the hours of on-boarding, many of your people remain unaware of all the programs you’ve made available to them.
Mismatches in care
For issues related to behavioral health, this lack of awareness can be especially detrimental. For example, in a recent study, primary care doctors were shown to be ill-equipped to properly treat their patients for depression. However, depression alone causes people to make approximately 8 million doctor’s appointments per year, and more than half of those appointments are with primary care physicians. In this situation, we have a mismatch in care that could cause a lot of people to go untreated for their depression, or other behavioral health issues.
Depression alone causes people to make approximately 8 million doctor’s appointments per year.
How EAPs can help
Most large employers offer employee assistance programs (EAPs) to help their people deal with these kinds of issues, but it remains a challenge to actually get employees to use these programs. EAPs can span a range of services from assistance with behavioral health issues, to help with child care or financial counseling. According to a 2013 study, only about 3.55 percent of employees take advantage of EAP services per year. This has become the norm in EAP utilization, but it doesn’t have to be. Educating your people through consistent company-wide communication, confidential surveys and activities like internal “lunch and learns” with an EAP representative, can seem repetitive, but the payoff is substantial.
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With all of the great advances in digital health, consider how other programs may be able to help your people address and manage their conditions. In fact, you may have invested in programs already that aren’t specifically designed for behavioral health, but offer supportive solutions for these issues. For example, the telemedicine solution Doctor on Demand recently added video visits with psychiatrists to administer a wider range of behavioral healthcare treatment options. Since chronic disease is often linked to depression, programs like Livongo support people dealing with a chronic illness by tracking their mood and helping them manage their depression. Make sure you communicate the existing behavioral health support included in your programs today and package them in a way that will resonate with your people’s needs.