By - November 27, 2017

Decision Support Software – Not All Metrics Are Equal

Decision Support Software Blog - Not All Metrics Equal

Knowing how many of your employees clicked through to your online decision support software gets you one step closer to measuring how they are engaging with their benefits but it’s not enough.  Accessing the tool is step one, but how do you know they are truly understanding and engaging with their decision?

Time spent in the software is sometimes beneficial but not always accurate due to the very nature of different tools.  Some tools take a long time to get employees to an actual recommendation. Many times, employees are forced to watch videos that don’t often provide any real value – this adds to the time spent in the tool without helping them better understand their decision. So, what else can you look at to really give you credible information on engagement?

One area that’s proven to be extremely helpful with our clients is the ability to see how many scenarios employees walk through. Hopefully you can track if your employees are changing variables and running different coverage and medical scenarios in your current tool. While some vendors tout high usage metrics, they may not be looking at unique users and count the same user running a new scenario as a new engagement altogether.

Employees could be looking at whether they should cover themselves, their spouses, or their dependents. While not usually available in a standard calculator tool, some tools guide employees through different medical spending scenarios and allow them to change the assumptions. They can add procedures they are planning for next year like a pregnancy or surgery to see how that affects their out-of-pocket costs.  

The ability to actively run through these different scenarios truly helps your employees determine what’s best for them and their families and feel confident in the decision they will make. It also provides you insights to what decision factors are most important to your employees.

We have seen high engagement with our decision support software, Tango Decision AssistTM. When a tool is fast and easy, we find that employees will run multiple scenarios.  On average, employees run between three and four scenarios. With each scenario, employees quickly see the cost impact of their changes. We enable users to run scenarios quickly and with concise sets of data, which makes them much more willing to engage with our tool multiple times both during and after open enrollment. Some employees run up to 10 different scenarios—testing if a small addition like an unexpected ER visit might change the plan recommendation.

The initial scenario usually takes less than three minutes and the next scenarios take closer to one minute each. Running these different situations gives employees the ability to test different possibilities so that they feel more confident about their final decision.

Employees also like to engage with actual data. When given an option to look at their individual medical and prescription claims data as a cost baseline, we’ve seen 82% of employees opt in. Having this data pre-populated helps employees think through next year’s costs more accurately, quickly helping them see what they’ve done in the past and gauge what they may need again in the future.

Sometimes employees don’t have claims data because they were on their spouse’s plan. In these cases, the ability to run scenarios with precise “people-like-them” data gives employees a realistic starting point by displaying average service frequency and costs for people in their family’s same demographic.

Numbers don’t lie.  We think it’s best to look at as many engagement metrics as you can with your decision support tool to see what employees find most valuable, but also to help you better understand how your benefits are being perceived. While time metrics are helpful understanding the level of engagement through scenario data can really help you in measuring success.

For a white paper on more ways to measure the success of your decision support software click here.

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