When your WiFi isn’t working, your devices that rely on connectivity can’t work either. Computers, smart phones, tablets, smart home devices, security systems, baby monitors, and more all grind to a halt. It’s frustrating because you pay for a service that enables the resources and routines that support your life, and you should be able to rely on that service. When you can’t it’s time to look for a new provider.
The same should be true when strategies just aren’t working. Regardless of how accustomed to them we may be or how much we think they should work, if they can’t accomplish what we need them to do, it’s time to make a change.
Many health plans roll out a member portal without a strategy for engagement. They think simply having a member portal is “good enough” to stay current in their member’s digital world. So how do you know when it’s time to let go of your member portal strategy?
Whether you have a strategy or not, here are four signs your portal isn’t making the connection.
1. Your call volume is too high
One of the most common goals for a member portal is to decrease call volume. As members get access to self-service care, they become less dependent on your representatives to personally handle every transaction.
After implementing your member portal, are you reaching your goals? Has your call volume increased or decreased? By how much?
If call volume has remained high, it’s an indicator that your portal isn’t doing a good job putting the most relevant information up front. The actions your members are most likely to take should be the first things they see, and they should always occupy a prominent position in your portal.
2. Members have to click too many times
Similarly, you should be monitoring how many clicks your members have to take to perform basic actions and find the information they need. You already know what they’re most likely looking for: the things they normally call you about.
Tracking the number of clicks it takes to reach key information helps you identify how many barriers you’ve put in members’ way. Each click is like a “wall” before they can find what they need. If there are too many walls, your members are going to give up. Instead of clicking through all those little walls, they’ll choose the path that only has one big wall: waiting on hold.
Your members are quick to give up, and paying attention to the number of clicks helps you see if you’re putting the most relevant information up front.
3. Members aren’t choosing the most cost-effective options
Your portal is an opportunity to drive ideal member behavior. Members aren’t always aware of how the choices they make affect how much they (and in turn, you) have to pay for the same care.
If your members are consistently going to the ER when there’s an urgent care clinic in their area, your portal could be a great place to tell them about it—especially if your portal is connected to an engagement platform (like Healthx), where you can communicate with members in their preferred format, including text or mobile app notifications.
Similarly, maybe your members would benefit from knowing when to use a walk-in clinic versus scheduling a doctor’s appointment.
Your member portal can be a great way for you to distribute information about how members can maximize the value of their healthcare, or even send helpful alerts if members consistently use your services inefficiently.
4. Members aren’t reading or responding to your communications
Most people don’t look at communication from their health plan and think “This isn’t important.” They know you send them important information that can have a direct impact on their healthcare, and their wallets. Still, depending on how you send this communication, some members are simply going to miss it.
Why, you ask?
Because people don’t all communicate the same way. Some people rarely check their email. Or they get so much of it that they can hardly read all the subject lines, much less the emails themselves. Others might lose your direct mail in a pile of junk mail or outdated bills.
The point isn’t that some forms of communication are better or worse than others (although that’s true, too—mobile engagement is pretty hard to beat). The point is that your members need to be able to tell you the best way to get a hold of them.
If they never check email, but that’s the only way you reach out to them, they’re going to miss out—and so are you.
Your portal is where members should be able to set their communication preferences. If your messages simply aren’t being read, it’s a sign that you probably aren’t reaching your members in their ideal way.
An engagement platform makes this all possible
By itself, a member portal can’t actually do much. That’s why it’s easy for health plans to miss how these issues connect to their portal strategy (or lack thereof).
On its own, your member portal won’t:
- Reduce call volume
- Analyze member actions
- Drive ideal behavior
- Increase member engagement
To do those things, your member portal needs to be part of an engagement platform. In the free ebook, The Member Platform: Why Portals Will Never Be Enough, we explore the ways an engagement platform can transform your portal into a far more useful tool—one that can help you and your members actually reach your goals.
Sign up to get your free copy of The Member Platform: Why Focusing on Portals is Holding You Back.