Dr Jeremy Wigginton: Health Care Happens All the Time; Employers Need to Engage Their Population

For employers, keeping members engaged with their health care is one of the key factors that leads to better outcomes, said Jeremy Wigginton, MD, vice president of health quality and innovation at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana.

In the first part of this interview, Jeremy Wigginton, MD, vice president of health quality and innovation at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana, said telehealth and other forms of remote patient monitoring help "bridge the gap between visits" and provide continued support for patients. Here, Wigginton expands on that comment, adding what he hears from employers about their interest and responsibilities in improving patient outcomes.


Speaking to your idea that health care doesn't only happen in the doctor's office, what are employers telling you about their interest in diabetes outcomes?

Employers, like I said, have a very unique position in that they have the ability to really engage their population, their employees. So, you're absolutely right that health care happens all the time. People with diabetes have diabetes 24 hours a day; they don't just have diabetes when they go to the doctor's office. So there can be lots of things that can, like I said, help augment their relationship with their primary care physician or the provider that is helping to treat their diabetes.

When we work with employers, we really look at the data around their population because, as the largest commercial insurer in the state of Louisiana, we have access to a lot of data. For employee populations, particularly, we can really look at the health of that population. We can see who's at risk for diabetes. Those that have diabetes, how well are they taking care of their diabetes? Are they getting good A1C control? Do they also have hypertension? Are they having any other issues like kidney disease? It's really about engaging those employees to stay involved in their health care, not just telling them to go to the doctor once a year or once every 6 months. It's really about keeping them engaged every day, watching their diet, keeping them with very good access to resources—both around education and support for their conditions.

So, you're absolutely right that employers really want to see those better outcomes, because better outcomes lead to very high value, which really is about the same for members and employers. They want to see really great outcomes that is at an affordable cost. They want to really feel that they're getting something for their health care dollar.

Employers can really partner very closely with those employees to give them really great visibility into their health insurance benefits, to educate them if they have access to particular programs or technologies. They really have an important place in our health care system to help keep their members engaged. Engagement is really one of the key factors that leads to better outcomes, so that's really an important piece.

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