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Delta Air Lines, Nestlé see how high quality doctors can be better for business

February 26, 2018

Common sense would lead you to believe that while high quality doctors might improve the health of your customers’ employees, they also could threaten the well-being of your bottom line.

After all, you usually get what you pay for, and quality comes with a cost. But employers like Delta Air Lines and Nestlé are discovering that what might appear to be common sense may be wrong in this case. Instead, these identified doctors are saving these employers money while improving their businesses in key ways, including reducing absenteeism, increasing productivity and reducing customer complaints.[1]

How? Because our data shows that high-quality physicians help employees become better, more engaged and healthier patients. These patients also wind up costing fewer health care and disability dollars, and they are more productive. [2]

UnitedHealthcare’s senior vice president of analytic innovations, Craig Kurtzweil, works one-on-one with companies to analyze the ripple effect that certain health care choices can have on individual health and business outcomes. It can start with whom the member chooses for care.

“There are a number of different health care decisions members make, such as place of care,” said Kurtzweil. “But the single biggest positive impact on a member’s health care decision pattern begins with engaging with high-quality physicians.”

Learn more from the experts.

Webinar Replay:

Expert: Craig Kurtzweil, UnitedHealthcare’s senior vice president of analytic innovations

According to Kurtzweil, UnitedHealth Premium® designated Premium Care Physicians meet specific objective criteria including consistently following their specialty’s best practices, focusing on preventive care and avoiding unnecessary costly procedures.

High quality doctors impact patient engagement

The data UnitedHealthcare uses to evaluate patients of Premium Physicians shows us that these consumers are more likely to be engaged and make correct health care decisions: they follow their doctor’s orders, take their medications as prescribed and make necessary lifestyle changes to help improve their health.[3] This is critical, especially when diseases or chronic conditions like diabetes are among the top drivers of rising health care costs for many employers. [4]

“The decision-making of the chronic population can be paramount to their health and can have a significant cost impact to the system,” advised Kurtzweil. “One of the biggest ROI’s an employer can see is getting this group to the highest quality doctor.”

Data, analytics help connect patients and high quality doctors

By mining data on companies’ key business metrics as well as the health care choices of their employees, UnitedHealthcare found that when more patients see Premium Physicians businesses see steeper declines in costs, fewer complications and declining hospital lengths of stay and re-admissions. High utilizers of Premium Physicians can produce lower prescription and medical spend than low utilizers of Premium physicians.[5]

UnitedHealthcare conducts an analysis of Consumer Activation Index (CAI) - a proprietary measure of employee populations that identifies sub-groups in which changes to health patterns may yield the greatest clinical and financial gain - for each of its customers. These analyses look at segments of the population specific to type of work, demographics, risk profile, and at the market level to pinpoint where focus is needed, and to develop customized approaches to improve engagement.

A CAI analysis with Delta Air Lines, for example, showed that certain employees were lagging behind when it came to engagement in their health. As a result, the company instituted an intensive health program focusing on diabetes, which included visiting Premium Physicians. Not only did overall engagement improve, the engaged employees saved the company more than $50 per member per month in health care costs, and these patients made fewer trips to the emergency room and were more compliant[6].

Engaged employees may boost productivity

UnitedHealthcare’s analysis of employer data shows that the more employees are engaged in their health, the more their day-to-day jobs also begin to improve from a business metrics perspective.

For example, a CAI analysis of Nestlé work sites found that productivity was more than 2 percent higher and customer complaints were almost 30 percent lower for sites where employees’ use of Premium Physicians was above average compared to those that were below average. Case fill rates jumped 9 percent for the same employee group.

Similarly, at Delta airports where employees made more informed health choices, Net Promoter Score®, which measures customer experience, were 21 percent higher while baggage mishandling was 16 percent lower than other airports.

Those are the kinds of metrics that can get a CEO to look at health care in a different way.

“We are working to morph our medical analytics and decision making into metrics the C-suite can understand,” said Kurtzweil. “When we are able to link member decision making to things like disability rates, on-time departures and case fill rates – metrics of true business performance – we give plan sponsors information to help show the value of health engagement enterprise-wide.”

UnitedHealthcare can help you take the next step on the path to better health outcomes and identify the metrics that may be meaningful to your customers. For more information on initiating a Consumer Activation Index study, contact your UnitedHealthcare representative.


The UnitedHealth Premium® designation program is a resource for informational purposes only. Designations are displayed in UnitedHealthcare online physician directories at®. You should always visit for the most current information. Premium designations are a guide to choosing a physician and may be used as one of many factors you consider when choosing a physician. If you already have a physician, you may also wish to confer with him or her for advice on selecting other physicians. You should also discuss designations with a physician before choosing him or her. Physician evaluations have a risk of error and should not be the sole basis for selecting a physician. Please visit for detailed program information and methodologies.

Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

[1] Getting to the Heart of Healthcare, May 3-5, 2017; Analytics that guide strategies and deliver results. Savings for enrolled members are case-specific. Results will vary based on client specific demographics and plan design.

[2] Getting to the Heart of Healthcare, May 3-5, 2017; Analytics that guide strategies and deliver results. Savings for enrolled members are case-specific. Results will vary based on client specific demographics and plan design.

[4] Large Employers’ 2017 Health Plan Design Survey, NBGH, August 2016

[6] Getting to the Heart of Healthcare, May 3-5, 2017, Savings for enrolled members are case-specific. Results will vary based on client specific demographics and plan design.

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