Business Group Blog

Selecting Vendor Partners in the CDHP Era

Selecting Vendor Partners


Large employers have more potential partners than ever to choose from to connect employees to high-value care. The Business Group’s Marketplace identifies dozens of vendors that provide second-opinion services, transparency tools, medical decision-support programs, disease management and several other condition-specific programs. Dozens more exist and startups looking to partner with large employers are being created regularly. Employers also have unprecedented opportunities to engage directly with health systems through value-based arrangements (e.g., accountable care organizations, patient-centered medical homes, centers of excellence) that incentivize providers to deliver evidence-based care to patients.

Sophisticated technology combined with the ability to analyze huge amounts of data to engage patients in real-time or proactively, and advancing evidence supporting clinical and behavioral interventions, have led to the development of important tools for impacting employee health. These programs, offered by potential partners, are complex, and employers need to be judicious about how they select and monitor them.

Things to Consider When Choosing a Vendor Partner

Given the large number of potential vendor partners and the complexity of their solutions, how can employers know that the partner will truly steer employees and dependents to evidence-based, high quality care? There are several questions employers should answer before selecting a vendor partner:

  • Does this vendor’s tool or program adhere to evidence-based protocols when steering patients to care?
  • Does the vendor have the ability to share data across platforms and are they willing to coordinate with other vendors to get patients the most appropriate care?
  • Does the tool translate complex clinical information to consumers in a way that is intuitive and actionable?
  • What is the customer service record of the vendor?

Of course, there are several other criteria for selecting vendors, not the least of which is cost. But the importance of selecting vendors that adhere to evidence-based care is paramount. For more information on how to identify the most up-to-date evidence and determine whether vendors are using it, Business Group members can access the Selecting Evidence-Based Vendors in the CDHP Era Benefit Manager Guide.