Best Practices for 21st-Century Health Plan Member Engagement
At a time when technology has given us one-touch control over everything from our coffee orders to the temperature of our living rooms, consumer expectations are soaring — and healthcare is no exception.
Data analytics, combined with advancements in healthcare technology, are enabling payers to align their engagement strategies with the evolving needs of the modern healthcare consumer by delivering convenient, member-centric experiences that help close gaps in care.
So how can you bring your engagement efforts into the digital age? By harnessing the power of data and technology to connect with your members when, where and how they want to engage — and empowering them with the means take an active role in their health.
Embrace the Telehealth Movement
The world no longer operates on a nine-to-five schedule, which makes omnichannel, always-on support critical to member satisfaction. Telehealth, also known as telemedicine or virtual care, is one example of how health plans are integrating channels like phone, video and chat into their engagement strategies, allowing members to access healthcare information, resources and even care on their terms. The result? Higher-value interactions that lead to higher-value experiences.
Identify & Overcome Barriers to Care
Taking the time to get to know your members is key to understanding and addressing the healthcare obstacles they face. If a member lacks access to transportation, for example, health plans can intervene by providing door-to-door service to appointments. Ride share companies like Uber and Lyft are expanding their service to accommodate health plan members in need of transportation. Just recently, Lyft announced its approval as an enrolled Medicaid provider in Arizona, providing eligible members with covered transportation to and from medical appointments.
Behold the Power of Wearables
Gartner estimates global wearable device shipments to increase by nearly 26 percent from 2018 to 2019, with fitness trackers, smartwatches and ear-worn devices (e.g., Apple AirPods) topping the list. By tracking physical activity, these types of devices can encourage people to follow through on their workouts and become more accountable for their overall health.
As the wearable market expands to encompass technologies like environmental sensors and FDA-approved medical devices, researchers are beginning to examine the far-reaching potential of these devices in driving healthcare reform — from improving chronic disease management with in-home testing and monitoring to better identifying social and environmental determinants of health. And with interconnectivity largely inherent to the technology itself, wearables could be a powerful tool in the effort to achieve system-wide interoperability by integrating with electronic health records (EHRs) and facilitating device-to-device communication.
Optimize Content for the Member—and the Medium
In the digital age, consumers are faced with an influx of information, decisions and responsibilities, making it all too easy for things like preventative care visits, health screenings and follow-ups to fall by the wayside. Gathering meaningful insight on the background, needs and motivations of members is critical to delivering the right message — in the right way — at the right time.
If, for instance, you know you’re dealing with a stretched-too-thin mom of four with an ever-expanding list of to-dos, you might guess that an annual well-woman exam isn’t exactly at the top of that list. Rather than sending a generic reminder, approaching the interaction with a level of understanding and empathy will likely be much more effective — and appreciated — than an impersonal or out-of-context blanket email.
Whether communicating by phone, email or in person, your members shouldn’t feel like it’s the first time you’re meeting. Eliciting feedback is important, but actually using that feedback to tailor your approach will go miles.
Be Consistent in Your Communications
With the sheer volume of information coming our way at any given moment, retention is often fleeting, which makes getting members to receive, digest and act on critical health information a challenge. Integrating your member outreach efforts will allow you create strategic campaigns that evolve based on member behavior. And when it comes to serious issues like potential medication misuse, engaging the member through carefully crafted, if/then communication is essential to facilitating timely intervention.
Make Technology Central to Your Member Engagement Strategy
Health engagement technologies that leverage robust data sets are helping payers better connect with the 21st-century healthcare consumer to reduce over and underutilization of healthcare resources, increase satisfaction and improve outcomes.
Population health management solutions can create value for all healthcare stakeholders, such as a suite of member engagement solutions that can combine comprehensive health engagement design, member-centric analytics and gold-standard technology to reduce healthcare costs, improve outcomes and enhance the member experience.