By Doug Ghertner, President of Change Healthcare
People often ask me if a proactive, personalized engagement approach really makes a difference in encouraging value-based healthcare purchasing decisions. My answer: Yes. It absolutely does.
Catalyst for Payment Reform reports that 98% of health plans say they offer cost calculator tools, yet only 2% of members use them*. The takeaway here: Putting healthcare cost and quality information “out there” for your members or employees to use on their own probably won’t cut it.
But, if you make this information available AND engage individuals to use it – reaching out in a highly personalized, easy-to-understand, educational way – the shift starts from passive user to proactive consumer.
When Change Healthcare uses this approach with our clients’ members and employees, we see sustained engagement rates of 60 percent. For our clients, this market-leading engagement represents a path to improved population health, increased member/employee satisfaction and retention, healthcare cost containment and optimization of other benefits investments.
What a difference a strategic, best practice-based engagement strategy can make in pulling consumers into the healthcare conversation and helping them make better decisions, weighing quality and cost.
Remember, people need more than just search capabilities; they need to be intrigued. What can you do to bolster your engagement? This is what Change Healthcare has found and what we encourage our clients to adopt.
- Be Accessible
How many clicks are really needed? Minimize the number of clicks to search for cost and quality information, view savings opportunities. The more clicks a user has to make, the higher their drop-off rate will be, which means they may not make it to the information they need to see.
- Be Visible
If users access a healthcare solution from a member or employee portal, how easily will they find it? Make tools highly visible—users have to be able to find the tools to use them.
- Be Available
How do your users access your tool? If it’s through a member or employee portal, can they access it when they aren’t at work? How can their spouses or other family members use it? Make the tools available no matter who or where the user is.
Users need and want help making better healthcare purchasing decisions. To drive engagement that supports long-term behavior change and cost savings, health programs must reach out in a proactive, personalized and ongoing way, leveraging engagement best practices.
- Be Timely
Timing can have a significant impact on the success or failure of email engagement efforts. By looking at email best practices alongside population-specific data showing the days and times with the highest email open and click-through rates, communications can reach a larger audience.
- Be Concise and Consolidate
If a healthcare transparency solution is being launched alongside other consumer-oriented initiatives, like a telemedicine program or on-site clinic, present them as a consolidated package. “Silo”-ing communications about various tools and resources can lead to confusion and message overload.
These are just a few of the engagement best practices that we implement at Change Healthcare and we’re innovating and refining more all of the time.
* National Scorecard on Payment Reform, Catalyst for Payment Reform, 2013
The views expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Healthcare, Inc. and HealthCare.com.