Increased utilization of EAP and wellness services, the emergence of fatigue management programs and more demand for mobile health applications are a few predictions for this year, according to Chestnut Global Partners.
The employee assistance and wellness program provider published a report based on utilization trends among its user base and a survey of its customers identifying key developments that are expected to make a large impact on the market in 2015 and beyond. To view this slideshow, click here.
Heres what Chestnut Global Partners expect this year:
- Increased utilization
EAP and wellness utilization will steadily increase in the U.S. in 2015. For the second consecutive year, CGPs EAP utilization in North America increased 7% across its book of business.
Reasons included challenges individuals reported in accessing alternative community mental health resources due to financial hardships, and requesting authorization to exceed EAP session limits due to being placed on a waiting list for a higher level of care.
- Severity of problems to increase
An increase in problem severity or level of psychological stress is expected to increase, which in turn, makes EAPs that much more important in addressing serious employee mental health concerns.
- Emergence of fatigue management
While the correlation of a good nights sleep to ones ability to function on a daily basis has been known for years, recent research is shedding light on the link between inadequate sleep and an increased risk for diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and depression. As a result, organizational safety and wellness programs should position themselves to offer services that target the underlying causes of fatigue, which range from undiagnosed medical conditions to unhealthy behavioral and lifestyle habits.
- Rising awareness of the value of fee-based programs
There's a growing recognition that free or embedded EAPs typically do not offer the same level of service as fee-based programs, and thus may not best serve the organizations primary objective.
More organizations are viewing EAP through the lens of risk management and productivity, and realize the value of increasing employee participation in order to increase utilization, positive behavior change, and ultimately workplace outcomes.
- Technology to drive EAPs, wellness
Recent innovations in technology and predictive analytics are changing, and will continue to drive EAP and wellness service delivery. Some EAPs have already begun to include secure video and evidence-based smart phone apps into their product offering to help manage health conditions such as stress, depression, diabetes, and sleep. These trends will continue through 2015 and beyond.
- Employees demand easier, broader access
"Today's workers are asking for easier and broader access to resources that address stress, depression, diabetes and sleep, and in ever-greater numbers are using mobile health apps to identify their conditions and track positive behavior change," says Matt Mollenhauer, vice president of operations at CGP. "Companies that are looking to improve employee productivity and retention those that want to be viewed as great places and attract top talent are driving the trends we've identified."
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