Disclosure – I serve as an Advisor to the Validation Institute.
Costs for their employees’ health care have continued to rise even as employers have implemented numerous programs and benefit changes, from raising employees’ deductibles and co-pays, to implementing wellness programs. While employers pay most of the premiums, which now exceed $20,000 for family coverage, employees now shoulder $6,000 per year on average, a heavy burden.
Here is a look at premiums growth over the years from the Kaiser Family Foundation Employer Health Benefits Survey..
So, what’s an employer to do?
That’s where the Validation Institute comes in. The Validation Institute or VI does three things:
- Educate, and
This post will discuss Validation and its importance.
No doubt employers have been looking at their health benefits and listening to their brokers or consultants explain how this program or that health plan is the best way to go and will result in better employee health and lower costs or a lower growth in costs. But how do they know? While most have heard these statements year after year, their costs have continued to rise.
The good news is there are solutions that deliver better clinical outcomes and/or reduced costs. Finding and validating the claims being made has been the hard part. The marketing of health care services has been fraught with all sorts of performance claims and many of the studies and white papers used to support them are just plain wrong.
The VI, through its Validation process, handles that process for you. It rigorously looks at claims being made by companies throughout heath care.
For a company to be validated, it must submit its data. The source, measures, analysis and results are reviewed to determine whether the claim being made stands up to a rigorous evaluation. Only after a thorough review can a company place the Validation Institute seal on its website and use the VI certification in its marketing materials.
There are four different “levels” of Validation. They are, in ascending order of rigor:
Many companies develop calculators to show prospects their expected savings or outcomes. If the calculator has been validated, that means it uses reliable and linked data sources, reasonable parameters and estimates, but allows the users to change certain assumptions. It also means that the calculator produces credible estimates of an intervention’s impact and the intervention has been shown in published literature to be correlated with the impact.
The company may not have produced a study showing these results, but based upon their calculator and other research, the calculator is likely a credible estimate.
Program Impact – Metrics
In this case the vendor has a credible measure (either from a published source or modeled closely to a standard measure) of the program impact, but the measure has yet to be applied to data from a population receiving the program. The intervention has been shown in published literature to be correlated with the impact.
So, the program has been shown in other cases to be correlated with creating the outcome, they are measuring and doing something similar, but have not yet measured their own results to the satisfaction of the VI.
Program Impact – Outcomes
The vendor has used credible data about a population receiving the program and reliable measures (either from a published source or modeled closely to standard measures) to estimate impact. The intervention has been shown in published literature to be strongly correlated with the impact.
The program being reviewed by the VI has been shown to strongly correlate with creating the outcomes, and the company has obtained these outcomes on a population with credible data and reliable measures.
Program Impact – Savings
This is the big one. The program has been shown to the Validation Institute’s satisfaction to produce savings.
As a health care purchaser, you want the best for your employees and your company. Look to the Validation Institute and their certified companies to know that what you are implementing for your employees is based on sound studies, measures and/or outcomes and is more likely to do the same for you.