SAN CARLOS, Calif.—A new survey conducted by XP Health and Ipsos suggests that offering digital solutions with a hybrid approach can improve satisfaction with vision care. XP Health, which offers a digital-first vision benefits platform, partnered with Ipsos, a market research company, for this survey to understand employees’ and employers’ drivers and barriers to digital platform usage, the impact of consumer digital platforms on the expectations employees have of their employer-sponsored benefits, and opinions, preferences and usage of health care benefits, according to the announcement.

“The rapidly evolving digital and workplace landscapes, like other verticals, are perpetually influenced by our consumer experiences with ubiquitous brands like Netflix, Google and other brands," said Antonio Moraes, CEO and co-founder of XP Health. "Vision is one of the last spaces in health to benefit from digital influence, requiring the vision care industry to rethink its strategies and develop innovative digital solutions that cater to the unmet needs of employees and their employer.”

Among surveyed employees and employers, 75 percent of employees and 91 percent of employers believe digital platforms would make access to benefits easier. Furthermore, 68 percent of these employees and 89 percent of these employers affirmed that digital health platforms would make accessing benefits more convenient. 

Even though employees consider vision care benefits important, there is a noticeable disconnect in their satisfaction level, according to the survey results; only 41 percent of surveyed employees associate vision care with ease of access or convenience, 40 percent believe they have access to high-quality benefits providers, and 37 percent perceive vision care benefits as clear and easy to understand.

Seventy-three percent of employees surveyed stated that they were comfortable accessing their vision benefits via a digital platform, with 22 percent preferring to access their vision benefits via a hybrid or virtual platform first. From the employee perspective, hybrid care is associated with access to a health care facility covered by their insurance (42 percent), the transparency of cost (40 percent), having providers they trust (38 percent) and a high-quality service (37 percent).

“With 60 percent of employees surveyed stating that they would be more likely to use their health care benefits if a digital health option was available, employers could potentially increase benefits usage and overall satisfaction by incorporating a digital health platform that aligns with employees’ needs,” added Moraes. “Currently, employees prefer in-office visits for doctor’s appointments, but as digital gains ground across health care and as technology improves, we expect virtual to gain acceptance. For vision care, a digital-first approach with hybrid care is the future."

The survey also suggested that employers may address unmet needs in employee benefits access and increase utilization by offering a digital solution that aligns with a traditional consumer experience. 

“This survey found that there is both employer willingness to offer and employee willingness to use digital health platforms, and increasingly they are hybrid options," said Ashley Lumpkin, head of health insurance advisory, Ipsos. “However, to be successful, these platforms must align with attributes that employees deem important. Those associated with traditional consumer platforms—high-quality content, trust and clarity—are the very ones missing in current health care offerings."

The survey included 710 respondents in the U.S., including 510 employees and 200 employers, between April 11 and May 1, 2024.