Improving healthcare quality through creative digital strategies

Rapid development of mobile technology in the healthcare sector means digital engagement with members is no longer optional. But in a 2015 report called “Health Insurance App Benchmarking,” market research group R2G revealed that 70 percent of health insurance companies could be described as “hesitant” at best when it comes to mobile technology. Could it be that health plans do not realize the full potential of member portals, mobile apps, and other technology to impact members’ health and their own bottom line?

 

In previous posts, we’ve discussed digital engagement strategies that can help healthcare payers reshape everyday transactions. Self-service functions like choosing a doctor, ordering an ID card, and updating contact information comprise the most basic form of engagement you can have on your member portal or app. Since almost 70 percent of consumers prefer self-service over speaking to a company representative, offering these options on your app or member portal are a good first step.

 

Digital engagement can and should be more than a self-service channel.

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Your member portal and mobile app can serve as the backbone for better member decisions about their health and healthcare. At the same time, if improving your HEDIS scores and other quality measures is a priority in your organization (which it should be), taking a fresh look at your engagement strategies can tell you how well you are serving your members.

 

Consider this: You have ready access to claims data and other relevant medical information that could be useful to members. You also have a direct communication line for targeted messaging and clinical interventions. And when it comes to health improvement initiatives, your third-party role insulates you from some of the privacy concerns employers have.

 

Quality-focused digital strategies

The following digital strategies are examples of how you can engage members for better health and also address HEDIS measures at the same time.

 

Medication management

  • Allow members to set up push notifications for medication reminders on your mobile app.
  • Deliver medication refill reminders on your member portal and/or member app.
  • Provide links to trusted, third-party information about side effects and usage instructions.
  • Use personalized messaging on your member portal and/or member app to encourage members to schedule routine tests and screenings.
  • Create an interactive self-assessment where members can grade themselves on preventive care (If you’re a Facebook user, you know people love to do self assessments—it’s fun to analyze yourself and how you behave).
  • Design an incentive program that uses an interactive graphic or game to promote screenings.
  • Send annual reminders about flu vaccinations, along with location information for in-network clinics.
  • Give parents the option to set up personalized profiles for infants and children with an age calculator that will create a multi-year plan for recommended immunizations. Send push notification reminders on birthdays or other age milestones.

 

Preventive care

  • Use personalized messaging on your member portal and/or member app to encourage members to schedule routine tests and screenings.
  • Create an interactive self-assessment where members can grade themselves on preventive care (If you’re a Facebook user, you know people love to do self assessments—it’s fun to analyze yourself and how you behave).
  • Design an incentive program that uses an interactive graphic or game to promote screenings.

Immunizations

  • Send annual reminders about flu vaccinations, along with location information for in-network clinics.
  • Give parents the option to set up personalized profiles for infants and children with an age calculator that will create a multi-year plan for recommended immunizations. Send push notification reminders on birthdays or other age milestones.

Meaningful engagement leads to healthier, happier members

The key to quality-related engagement is understanding how it differs from other forms of engagement. Changing the way someone selects a doctor or completes a self-assessment is relatively easy. It involves a simple change in platform. However, changing the way members care for their own health and engage in the healthcare system is much more complicated.

 

Why is that? Quality changes affect core behaviors and move members into new processes with unfamiliar terms and concepts.

 

Despite the growth of healthcare consumerism, many individuals still can’t easily navigate the landscape on their own.

 

They aren’t sure who to contact and when for answers to their healthcare questions. They want and need to make lifestyle changes to minimize their need for healthcare services, but they don’t know what resources are available.

 

As their insurer, you’re in the perfect position to harness member data to create opportunities for meaningful digital engagement. Better engagement means healthier and happier members—which might just lead to improving your HEDIS scores and other quality measures, too.


 

Chuck Rolfsen is the Chief Revenue Officer for Healthx. Through product design input and engagement strategy services, Healthx helps healthcare payers drive adoption and utilization of healthcare consumerism solutions including member portals and mobile apps.