This is a 2019 SHRM Annual Conference and Exposition (#SHRM19) interview is with MediKeeper, a provider of health management tools. Below is a quick Q&A with the CEO David Ashworth.
Who is MediKeeper!? Tell us everything, just as you would someone approaching your booth and asking you this question at #SHRM19 in Las Vegas.
We provide a technology platform that helps companies deliver engaging and effective wellness plans to their employees or members. While we have a standard platform that could be deployed out of the box, it is designed so that it can be customized to meet the specific needs of each client – in fact no two deployments are the same. So whether you are a small employer or a large health plan, the MediKeeper platform can be configured to function exactly how you want, at very low cost and can be up and running very quickly.
The technology is key, but what makes MediKeeper special is our flexibility, responsiveness and customer support. We have so many stories of how we have “rescued” customers from unrealistic timelines and unreasonable expectations. Our customers are continually shocked by what we can do in such a short time.
Let us in on the magic. What’s the healthcare process like at MediKeeper? How do you utilize your own tech and processes to ensure your employees are healthy and happy?
When we started the company, we wanted small and medium sized companies to have access to the quality of products for their employees and members that have historically only been available to the largest and richest organizations. The small and medium sized market is so underserved. MediKeeper supports customers traditionally ignored by our competitors, and we can do that because of the flexibility of our product design that allows us to provide unique products to each customer very easily, and that can be upgraded to add additional functionality at the flick of a switch.
Customer service is key. I touched on it already – it is about how our people step up under pressure to help customers get the right solution for them implemented very quickly and for a price they cannot get anywhere else for the size of their population.
Our platform is scalable, meaning it can evolve by adding new functionality as the needs of the customers’ wellness programs change. We can plug in third-party tools seamlessly and brand each portal to match customer requirements.
What are the biggest challenges companies face when incorporating wellness into the workplace? How do they overcome those challenges?
Our customers tell us that they face two main challenges. Firstly overcoming previous bad experiences with wellness initiatives can be challenging, and mean that they have find ways to communicate with and motivate employees to start another program; secondly, keeping the program fresh and interesting so that employees want to stay engaged over the course of the full year rather than it being a one-and-done type of experience.
The majority of smaller companies do not have dedicated wellness staff, and so it usually falls to someone within the HR/benefits department to administer the program. So although we designed our platform to deliver a great user experience, our real “customer” are those over-worked administrators. Therefore, the foundation of our platform is to make the administrators life easy by providing tools and functionality that minimize oversight and make complex tasks very easy. The administration portion of the platform helps deliver private but personalized communications to employees, allows new and exciting content to be created and published to the platform and the ability to create and release engaging challenges and incentives that match the culture and interests of the employees in each customer.
What are some of the trends you see in the employee wellness industry?
Over the years, we have seen the “hot new thing” in wellness portals change, everything from having a mobile app to support wellness initiatives, to challenges and incentives that can work together, to being able to import external data such as claims and biometric screening results. Recently there has been a lot of attention on the “whole wellbeing” aspect rather than just physical wellness. What do I mean by that? Well, you can group several issues together under a heading of “mental wellness” such as sleep, stress and anxiety management and even financial wellness. Some employees might have access to EAP services, but many do not.
Of course traditional physical health that helps prevent employees from developing serious conditions is very important, but there is a definite trend towards helping the employees’ total health, and adding tools that help improve their mental health in addition to physical health (essentially diet and exercise and lifestyle) has become essential.
What do you wish more HR professionals and recruiters knew about the importance of health in the workplace?
It doesn’t matter if the employer is self-insured or fully insured, there are direct costs associated with poor health and chronic conditions. A lot of focus is spent of the small number of employees who contribute to the majority of the healthcare cost via Disease Management or Chronic Care Management programs. But the one thing we do know, is that if action is not taken to prevent currently healthy employees from developing really expensive conditions like Diabetes, the cost to an employer for healthcare and productivity is only going to continue to rapidly increase.
Wellness programs aim to keep the healthy portions of the employee population healthy, and they are usually the majority of the employees, and so it is critical to use technology to help deliver the education, tools and motivation to those employees to change bad habits for healthy ones and make the lifestyle changes that will allow then to live productive lives and feel good towards an employer who demonstrates their commitment to that goal.
For anyone who won’t be able to make it to the MediKeeper booth in Las Vegas, what do you want them to know?
Wellness portals have advanced so much in the last two or three years. If you do not have a portal or feel your current vendor has not moved with the times, you really need to see our demo. Then you will see the MediKeeper difference and realize we are not like anything else in the market.
Visit MediKeeper Booth #1447 at #SHRM19!
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