Vendor summits can help employers get more from their health benefit investment by targeting conditions that are costly to employers and employees alike.

Part 1 of this blog post covered the basics of how to organize a vendor summit. Now it’s time to see how a vendor summit can lead to opportunities for health management integration.

Targeted Conditions

Based on the information provided by vendors and the goals set by the employer, the vendor summit group should reach a consensus on the conditions to target over the coming year.

It’s best to focus the rest of the summit on these two or three conditions. For example, XYZ Co. might decide to use an integrated health management approach to focus on diabetes, obesity and preventive screening.

Integrated Health Management

Each of XYZ Co.’s targeted conditions can be addressed along a progression that marks the four stages that an employee would experience as a chronic condition moves from wellness to disease.

Integrated Health Management - 4 stages chart

For each of the four stages, the summit will aim to identify:

  • Which vendors offer services and support?
  • What are these services and support?
  • How does the vendor engage employees? How often?
  • What could make the vendor more successful in serving the employer and employees?
  • How will the employer determine, measure and communicate success?

Vendor Accountability

Remember, your goal is to integrate data to maximize services and provide more value to employees and dependents. As part of that process, it’s important to learn how services are coordinated by multiple vendors.

The plan that emerges from the vendor summit should include:

  • Key initiatives and goals to support targeted conditions
  • Prioritization of initiatives by:
    • Vendor
    • Target Audiences
    • When due
  • Communication plan
  • Follow-up plan
  • Measurement

Plan to work with each vendor to describe services, set targets and define measurements for the conditions you plan to target. Ultimately, this could help you develop performance guarantees for vendor services.

The final step for each vendor is reviewing scenarios likely to impact employees seeking vendor services. For example, XYZ Co. might want to know how each vendor would handle a call from an employee who is having trouble with her vision and is actively engaged in a diabetes-focused disease management program. Completing this exercise will help the vendor and employer alike visualize how the process will work and how the employee will benefit.

Revisiting the Process

Part 1 of this blog post provided an overview of the vendor summit process. To regroup, it included:

  1. Employer sets goals based on needs of employee population.
  2. Employer determines which vendors interact with these employees.
  3. Vendors are invited to a summit to share information about their services.
  4. Specific goals are set for each vendor for the targeted conditions.
  5. Measurements for success are defined.

Ideally, you should regroup with vendors in six to 12 months, as appropriate, to evaluate progress and adjust accordingly. This will let you fine-tune your relationship with the vendors and your employees.

The Payoff

A vendor summit represents an investment of time and effort. The results make the investment worthwhile, according to employers who self-fund their health benefits through The Alliance.

After participating in a vendor summit, employers say vendors are more likely to share vital information, align activities with the employer’s strategic goals, participate in an integrated health management approach and deliver measureable results.

“It was a real eye-opener to us when we brought our vendors together,” an employer’s representative said. “We found out about services that we weren’t even aware of.”

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Jesse Oberloh

Jesse Oberloh

Jesse Oberloh was manager of member services for The Alliance from 2009 through January 2015. He worked with Alliance members to help them achieve their goals for strategically managing health benefits. Prior to joining The Alliance, Jesse worked at M3 Insurance. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Read blog posts by Jesse.
Jesse Oberloh