About half of all Americans receive their health insurance coverage through their employer. That means employers play a central role in the healthcare system’s collective response to disease outbreaks, like the one we are currently experiencing with COVID-19, a respiratory disease from a novel coronavirus. In addition to workplace health and safety policies, employers need to make sure that their employees have clarity about how best to use their healthcare benefits during this, or any, epidemic. As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve, employers and employees require the most up-to-date information to effectively prepare and respond.
To achieve this successfully, employers need clear, trusted channels to communicate healthcare information with their employees. Castlight is equipping our customers with the tools necessary to disseminate scientifically-vetted and timely COVID-19 updates, guidelines, and strategies for staying healthy and safe. Employers should consider how they are delivering information during this outbreak, and ensure they are achieving the following with their communications:
Maximize Available Information
As the prevalence of COVID-19 increases in the U.S., employees will have questions about how their employer is approaching the outbreak and what resources are available to them. Difficulty accessing or understanding employer policies only adds uncertainty and anxiety to an already stressful situation. Castlight can provide this employer-specific information to employees through our digital platform. Every employer is different and their resources, benefit designs, and policies vary widely. For example, we can let employees know if their workplace offers an onsite clinic or if their employer encourages them to use telehealth services in the event that they are feeling unwell. We can also update employees about travel or work-from-home policies that their employer may implement to reduce exposure risks. Castlight can direct employees who are feeling stressed or anxious to their employee assistance program or other mental health resources.
Continuously Update in Real Time
Our understanding about this new coronavirus—where cases have been confirmed, the relative risk for various populations, testing protocols, etc.—advances daily. So, too, must employers’ responses to these developments. Castlight’s technology gives employers the ability to communicate new information almost immediately, whether they are updating company policies or the CDC is updating its recommendations. We facilitate this across several channels to ensure that employees receive the information regardless of their preferred method of communication. For example, we can email employees updates, provide relevant content within the app to guide them to employer-provided resources, directly link users to telehealth providers, and provide one-on-one telephonic and chat support with our nurse Care Guides. In an evolving epidemic, where consistent, clear communication is essential, an omni-channel approach ensures effective dissemination of critical information to the widest possible audience.
Personalize Where Possible
Coronavirus has been affecting certain, vulnerable populations more than others, and outbreaks in specific geographic locations put particular communities at greater risk. Castlight’s personalization engine allows us to tailor communications for users across unique situations, and update those communications as situations change. For example, Castlight users searching the term ‘coronavirus’ or looking into related symptoms (e.g. cough, sore throat, fever) will receive recommendations directing them to appropriate measures they should take, and Castlight can tailor those recommendations if the person is uniquely at-risk or lives in an area where specific protocols have been instituted.
COVID-19 has the potential to seriously disrupt the workforce, and employers need to be prepared. By helping collect and disseminate current scientifically-validated and employer-specific information, Castlight provides a powerful communication platform to help keep employees safe and healthy during this outbreak.