Accolade Brings Personalized Healthcare Navigation to Stonebook Members

Stonebrook Risk Solutions has aggregated a set of capabilities and Partners and is making these services available to regional health plans and health systems around the country. Stonebrook’s suite of capabilities enable regional health plans to more effectively reduce the total cost of care and enhance the experience for the employers and members they serve. Stonebrook’s vision is to create a network of best-in-class regional health plans that provides an alternative to the large corporate healthcare conglomerates.

All of Stonebrook’s strategic partners share common goals – optimize healthcare outcomes, improve the patient experience through innovative technology and approaches and reducing the total cost of care. Accolade, Inc., a Personalized Healthcare company established 15 years ago, today provides over 11 million people and their families with an exceptional healthcare experience that is personal, data driven and value based. Accolade’s solutions combine virtual primary care, mental health support and expert medical opinion services with intelligent technology and best-in-class care navigation.

Reimagining the Member Experience – Martha’s story

Most of us have probably had a less than ideal experience calling the customer service department at our health insurance carrier as we seek health care. Typically, the customer service person knows little about you, your family, your social determinants of health, your barriers to care or your comprehensive set of benefits. You explain what you are looking for and the agent transfers you to what they think is the relevant program. You retell your story, and that person may or may not be the right person and you continue to get bounced through the system in a very impersonal and transactional manner at your greatest time of need.

Accolade has reinvented the member healthcare experience by turning transactional conversations — such as a member calling to ask for a list of in-network providers – into an opportunity to build trust and advocate for members on their care journey. Accolade’s Care Team starts with health assistants trained in empathetic listening skills and includes nurses, pharmacists and other clinical specialists who work together as a united Care Team to support members.

Member stories such as “Martha’s” demonstrate the personalized approach in action. Martha contacted Accolade seeking in-network imaging center options after her primary care doctor discovered a lump in her breast. In Martha’s case, a nurse stepped in to not only help Martha find the best fit for an imaging center but to also prepare her for the visit with additional education about imaging and biopsy procedures. Martha’s journey continued beyond the mammogram and ultimately included surgery and post-op care. Each step of the way the nurse provided information and reassurance to Martha. The Care Team also helped Martha connect with an expert medical opinion before the step of surgery to confirm it was the best decision for her. Martha’s nurse, and the whole Care Team, have continued to stay in touch with Martha post-op.

Guiding Patients Through the Healthcare Maze Reduces Cost

Accolade’s personalized navigation and advocacy with members leads to better health outcomes for them, and better health outcomes ultimately reduce costs.

Bill Schmitt, Senior Vice President of Business Development at Accolade, explains, “When we can guide members to work their way through the system most efficiently, it’s good for the member, good for the employer and it provides a better experience for the providers because an educated consumer is coming to the provider fully prepared for the appointment.”

There is tremendous variability in cost and quality within the healthcare system depending on the provider, the site of service and insurance plan. For example, the cost of a cat scan at a hospital teaching institution could cost 200% or more than a free-standing imaging center. Accolade wraps in intelligent technology and proprietary tools to guide members to the right care – based on location, cost of care, provider quality, and member experience data.

The blending of data, technology, and placing human connection at the center of member engagement have become a proven model at the heart of Accolade’s success in serving as a third-party organization to employers, independent of health plans. An independent study by AON in 2021 found that Accolade significantly bends the cost-curve for employers. With Accolade, employers experienced annualized healthcare costs trends of about 2% compared to the 6.1% of the market control group in the study over a two-year period. Additionally, employers in the study saw a 5% point reduction in claims trends within the first year of implementing Accolade, and another 3.2 % point reduction in the following year.

A Strategic Partnership for Population Health Management

Accolade’s “Engineered to Care” approach harnesses insights from vast amounts of data to deliver predictive engagement, proactive care, and address barriers to care – such as social determinants of health – that enable population health management. Along with Stonebrook, which supplies expanded analytics capabilities and ancillary services, employers who leverage this strategic partnership can make incredible strides in population health with data at their fingertips in selecting solutions across areas like diabetes/chronic care programs, telehealth, and women’s health; monitoring the appropriate utilization of programs and benefits; and measuring the outcomes and eliminating unnecessary spend.

Personalization of Healthcare is the Future

Stonebrook and Accolade both believe that data-driven personalization is the future of healthcare. By investing in data and developing personalized care plans, you can dramatically reduce costs. Bill sums up the potential of the partnership this way — “together Stonebrook and Accolade are able to use available data, including design benefits, available network, network variability, putting it all in one spot, and making it available to a team so that team can more effectively help members navigate through the process in a very personal way. And it’s that personalization that I think most members would say is the problem with healthcare.”