In a recent keynote address at the 2023 Science of Patient Engagement Symposium, Robert M. Califf, Commissioner of Food and Drugs at the FDA, said this:
“One of the most important aspects of our work at the FDA is to incorporate the perspectives and experiences of patients to make sure the evidence reflects what matters most to and is most effective for patients and their caregivers.”
From our experience, this mindset is a cornerstone of effective healthcare. When consumers feel engaged—that their concerns are validated, and their voices are heard—they are more likely to take an active role in their wellbeing. As a result, everything from improved care quality to reduced costs are all in reach.
Yet the healthcare industry is held to lofty standards. Consumers have been conditioned to expect complete satisfaction from every business they patronize. So, how do healthcare payers ensure their members are fully engaged? Deloitte suggests that you can earn their engagement by prioritizing three things:
- Hyper-personalized service
- Ultra-fast service
- Experiential moments
That clarifies the “what,” but not the “how”. The good news is there are several tech-driven member engagement strategies that can simplify your quest to improve the overall experience and address the unique challenges of every member.
Maximizing Omnichannel Service
Though people have expected omnichannel interactions from retail and consumer brands for a while, the healthcare industry is only now pursuing that level of service continuity. The tipping point was the popularization of telemedicine in the wake of COVID-19 lockdowns and social distancing. CVS found almost half of Americans had virtual visits in 2020, offering evidence that multichannel works.
Most healthcare organizations have started their omnichannel communication journey (whether it’s with phone, email, live chat, social media, or other options.), but there’s still a gap in consumer comfortability. Though surveys indicate 71% of consumers think the quality of virtual care is comparable or better than in-person interactions, there are still some shortcomings.
As many as 24% feel services are more limited and 15% feel the technology is too confusing. This feedback indicates a few potential insights:
- Though virtual visits do have limitations, healthcare payers should educate members on the full extent of digital healthcare services available.
- Payers should guide less-tech-inclined members through the omnichannel experience, improving the user-friendliness of tools or walking users through different channels.
Moreover, organizations need to verify that data from these channels flow into a centralized hub, creating a cohesive yet secure experience from one channel to the next. When EHRs and member data are a continuous resource across interactions, you’ll not only increase engagement, but improve KPIs like customer effort score (CES) and first-time resolution (FTR) when members reach out with new challenges.
Automating Member Engagement
Done the old-fashioned way, member engagement requires a substantial effort from payors. Keeping consumers invested in their ongoing treatment and wellbeing requires a range of communications about claims, changes in plans, new plan benefits, upcoming appointments, and other questions. It’s an involved process, but many consumer interactions can be automated without a loss in engagement KPIs.
First, how do consumers feel about automated engagement? Studies show they’re generally more concerned about getting answers to questions or receiving timely information than specifically speaking with or receiving notifications from an actual person.
For example, the CVS 2022 Health Care Insights Study finds 89% of consumers who are prescribed special medication or live with a complex condition appreciate automated refill reminders by phone or text. McKinsey finds AI-enabled customer service often increases customer engagement in ways that result in cross-selling and up-selling activities. From proactive messages to chatbot interactions, there’s a world of opportunities to motivate member satisfaction without person-to-person contact.
How do organizations properly execute their automation strategy? The key is creating a solid data foundation to fuel and inform your member engagement automation. Healthcare payers must integrate their protected health information (PHI), personally identifiable information (PII), and plan data into a centralized system, which outreach automations and AI-powered chatbots can access in real time.
Additionally, your organization will need to map out the customer experience, creating automations that satisfy the most common engagement journeys. Creating a principal data repository with a streamlined architecture and clear workflows can provide members with the information they need, when they need it. As a result, you can improve care outcomes, enhance HEDIS measures, and boost customer satisfaction without a cost-prohibitive amount of people power.
Staying Current with Engagement Strategies
The healthcare industry is always evolving with technology, opening new avenues for engagement with your members. Whether maximizing the omnichannel, creating automation, or exploring other strategies for deepening your digital transformation, the right foundation is crucial to drive results and enhance efficiency.
At w3r Consulting, we can help your organization to create a data-driven framework to maximize your engagement strategies. With the appropriate platforms in place, you can earn customer trust, growing your business in the process.
Want to enhance your health plan member engagement strategies? We can help with your data and digital enablement to set your organization up for success.