Blue Shield of California's latest tech team-up focuses on employee engagement. Here's how

A sign reading 'Welcome to California'
Here's why Blue Shield of California is taking aim at employee engagement. (Getty/ChrisBoswell)

Blue Shield of California is teaming up with Accolade to offer self-insured employers a new and more personalized way to connect with members about their health and benefits.

Through Accolade’s platform, employees covered by Blue Shield will have access to health assistants and clinicians who work directly with individual members to discuss their health needs and benefits and to check in before and after they receive care. 

Don Antonucci, senior vice president of commercial markets at the insurer, said the partnership offers an opportunity to address a significant unmet need for these large employers that may not have the ability on their own to drill down to the individual level on healthcare. 

“We’re excited to take this first step and really lean in, and then see what the uptake will be and the interest,” Antonucci told FierceHealthcare. “We felt like it would be a nice offering to come at this proactively.”

RELATED: Blue Shield of California targets patients with complex needs in house call program 

Antonucci said that it’s not uncommon for an employer to adopt a point solution—perhaps a new inclusion to its wellness program—but then not have an effective method to encourage workers to take advantage of it. 

One of the goals of this partnership is to make that easier, he said. The platform also aligns with Blue Shield’s goals of streamlining costs and promoting value—a goal the employers share, which is why they’re also seeking solutions in this space. 

“A big focus of ours is moving folks into more and more value-based care and getting away from that waste that’s in the system,” Antonucci said. 

Matt Eurey, senior vice president of customer and health plan partnerships at Accolade, told FierceHealthcare that making the navigation process easier for employees is on par with the rising cost of prescription drugs as a central concern. 

RELATED: L.A. Care, California Blue launch joint community resource centers 

Navigating a web of point solutions with no clear hub can be a frustrating experience for members and turns them off from the experience, Eurey said. 

“What employees and what family members want is an ‘easy button,’” Eurey said. 

Antonucci said that large, self-insured employers were the most logical place to start for the initiative, but if workers at those firms take to Accolade’s tools, they could be scaled to other business lines.