3 member engagement resolutions every payer should make in 2016

Here we are again, facing a new year. It’s the time when many of us do a “gut check” on our lives and resolve to do things differently next year – to eat better, to exercise regularly, to save more money for retirement. Perhaps it’s a good time to do the same with your member engagement strategies. Before all those new members get on board in January, take a moment to conduct a thorough and honest review of member outreach and ongoing interactions – and then resolve to make some changes in the year ahead. Here are a few places to start.

In 2016, resolve to …

  1. Set goals and metrics for digital engagement strategies

Last year at an industry event, I heard a line that sticks with me to this day: don’t digitize without direction. A There is a lot of excitement about member engagement in our industry – but excitement can only be sustained if there are objectives and outcomes. Each effort you pursue should have:

  •  One or more associated objectives (ex: lower administrative costs, improved health outcomes, higher member satisfaction scores)
  •  Specific goals and metrics you will use to monitor changes in awareness, attitudes, and/or actions
  •  Timeframes and check points facilitated by teams that own these responsibilities

The same standards should apply to member touch points that aren’t digital, too. This specificity leads to ROI metrics that can help quantify efficiencies and justify budget requests.

  1. Explore new forms of incentives

As I mentioned in my previous blog, the role of digital engagement in improving quality of care, engagement should be more than a form of member self-service. It should help drive behavior change. There are countless examples of how payers and employers have used incentives and rewards to drive behavior change. A lot of these examples relate to lifestyle choices (smoking, exercise, etc.). But there is a huge opportunity to use incentives in another way: to prompt more efficient use of the healthcare system.

In the coming year, consider how you can develop a rewards platform focused on healthcare decisions. For example, rewards could be awarded for actions such as:

  •  Registering for the member portal
  •  Downloading the mobile app
  •  Appointment adherence
  •  Medication adherence
  •  Physician visit preparation (ex: writing a list of questions in advance)
  •  Initiating and maintaining a personal health record
  1. Personalize information as much as possible

Personalization is about more than just showing “Hello, Bob” when Bob logs in to the portal. It’s about being truly consumer-focused. Personalized messaging needs to be incorporated into all member touch points and areas of outreach. That means personalizing content based on:

  •  Level of familiarity with the plan (ex: using a splash page and self-guided tour in your portal to welcome new members)
  •  Preferred language
  •  Desired communication methods and frequency

For more ideas on how you can boost your engagement strategies in 2016, check out our blog post, 5 ways to improve your digital member engagement, or download our step-by-step guide, An Action Plan for Member Engagement.

Chuck Rolfsen is Chief Revenue Officer for Healthx. He helps Medicaid health plans, commercial health plans, and other Healthx clients develop strategies to streamline administrative processes and improve the quality of care.