When your members are engaged with their healthcare, the more cost-effective that care becomes. Administrative costs go down because members complete basic actions on their own or with little prompting and outcomes improve because members get the care they need before conditions develop into more significant (and costly) issues.
In the past, if you wanted to engage your members and promote specific actions, you only had a few options. You could send them a form or information via direct mail or email. You could call them. Or you could wait for them to contact you.
But today’s payers have a lot more tools at their disposal. Technology offers a wide range of relevant, effective strategies to distribute information and drive behavior.
Here are five ways to activate member engagement.
1. Text messaging
According to the Pew Research Center, 95% of Americans have a cell phone. And 77% of Americans have smartphones. Even seniors have embraced the convenience of communicating with cell phones, and the percentage with smartphones grows every year.
Most payers are already using automated text messaging to reach members wherever they are: at work, on the go, and in noisy public spaces. One study even found that response rates for text messages were 209 percent higher than phone calls.
And while emails can easily get lost in your member’s inbox and tend to have low open rates, we’ve found that 98% of recipients open the text messages payers send them.
These texts can link directly to additional information and solutions your members need to take action (such as scheduling a visit with their primary care provider).
2. Push notifications
Like text messaging, push notifications help you tap into the power of mobile. If a member downloads your mobile app, you can send alerts that display on their phone even when the app isn’t open. These notifications can link to specific parts of your app, too, so you can send members directly to where they can take the actions you need them to take.
3. Self-service care
One of the biggest things you can do to engage your members is to give them a more convenient way to complete basic transactions and find important information. Most payers don’t realize the benefits of their engagement strategy because:
- The functionality members need isn’t available
- The only channel supported is a portal and the only device is a desktop
- Members have been trained to rely on inefficient methods (such as calling you)
But a modern digital engagement platform that supports omnichannel communication is designed to be the fastest, most convenient way for members to manage their care. Instead of setting aside time to make a phone call just to check their claim status or flexible spending account, they can find that information on their own in seconds. And when they arrive to your platform, the first thing they’ll see is an intuitive dashboard displaying any alerts or action items they need to be aware of.
Used in conjunction with engagement channels like text messaging and push notifications, your portal will quickly become your members’ go-to place for managing their own care.
When your members need to see a provider, it may require them to:
- Take time off work
- Arrange childcare
- Disrupt their routine
- Find transportation
It’s not exactly convenient. And if a member has to see a specialist in another city, these inconveniences become significant challenges. Even when people know they need to see a provider, that inconvenience can often outweigh their will to seek care. This disengagement can create or exacerbate gaps in care, lead to negative outcomes, and ultimately increase the cost of care.
Telemedicine brings providers to your members wherever they are. With a mobile device or computer, your members can meet with their provider via video, instead of making a special trip to their office. By making these “visits” more convenient, you ensure that they’re more likely to actually happen.
5. Smart speakers
Nearly a quarter of all US households have a smart speaker of some kind. Whether it be Amazon Echo, Google Home, Apple HomePod, or something else, these devices are rapidly growing in their popularity and capabilities. More than half of all smart speaker owners say they purchased their device in the last six months. And Amazon alone has sold more than 100 million Alexa devices.
Voice recognition has come a long way, and smart speakers now offer organizations valuable new opportunities to engage consumers. Healthcare organizations are no exception. Amazon has already begun experimenting with HIPAA-compliant skills, and they’re exploring ways that smart speakers can assist patients, especially those with mobility issues.
It may be a while before Alexa becomes your new administrative assistant, but this is clearly where healthcare technology—and member engagement—is heading, and there are plenty of opportunities to experiment with it now, like wellness programs.
Wellness programs are already an integral part of a strong member engagement strategy. They keep your members looking to you for health-related tips, care recommendations, and advice for reaching their goals. Combining your trustworthy content with the power of a smart speaker could be a valuable opportunity to apply the work you’ve already done and engage your members in a new way.
Use technology to become more efficient
At Healthx, we’re proven experts in building digital tools to make every aspect of healthcare more efficient, so payers, providers, and members can save money and improve outcomes. Member engagement plays a huge role in reducing costs, but this is just one of the ways technology can help you become more efficient.
In our free ebook, 6 Ways to Help Providers Maximize Their Value-Based Reimbursement, we highlight several other opportunities you have to lower the cost of care—while also raising the standard of care.
Download your free copy today.