Building a seamless digital brand: The ACO Imperative

The great hope of value-driven healthcare lies in the consolidation of payer and provider services to achieve triple aim success in patient satisfaction, improved population health, and reduced operating costs. However, this same consolidation also has the potential to undermine triple aim goals if it remains a disjointed, segmented experience for patients. That’s why building a seamless digital brand has become the ACO imperative.


Harness the Reputation of Your Health System

Health systems can take advantage of the reputation and brand recognition they’ve built in their local region when they offer an ACO as a new service in addition to those they are already providing to the community.


By seeing an ACO as an extension of an organization they are already familiar with, patients will be more likely to trust this new service even if they aren’t exactly sure how an ACO works.


“Many hospitals or medical groups in a new ACO may already have strong name recognition within their marketplace. Smart ACOs find a way to leverage that and to use their established role as a leading and trusted healthcare resource as a launching pad for their new endeavor,” writes Ross K. Goldberg for Advance Health Network.


True, ACOs may collaborate with other national brands for payer, pharmacy, HSA, wellness, or other services, but it’s the health system’s ongoing reputation as a local healthcare provider that will likely build the most trust with patients.


Give Patients a Seamless, Branded Digital Experience

Tapping into a health system’s reputation means the ACO should assure patients that they are working with the trusted entity at every stage of their healthcare experience. Regardless of the number of outside payers or vendors an ACO has partnered with, patients should have a seamless online experience under the ACO banner. Otherwise patients may become frustrated or confused by the need to sign in and out of various portals and mobile apps, each reflecting a different brand. Patients also may not realize the nature of online or email notifications if they receive them from multiple third party sources.


The patient satisfaction and healthfulness that ACOs are working toward, not to mention the improvement of their bottom line, are all compromised when patients don’t have or recognize the information they need. When every patient portal and mobile app, every preventive care reminder, every electronic prescription, every EOB—every single form of digital engagement—carries the ACO brand, patients know they are working with an organization they can trust.

Establish Your ACO Brand for Future Success

By branding the patient experience along both the care continuum and the revenue cycle, health systems not only tap into their existing reputation as a healthcare provider but also build their reputation as a trusted healthcare payer. This is especially important as the healthcare industry barrels toward a greater consumer focus and as employers diminish in their role as middleman. Increasingly, more patients will be responsible for selecting their own healthcare payers. The health system that has earned a reputation as both trusted provider and payer through value-based care in the community will become the obvious choice. A solidly-branded patient experience positions health systems for future success in value-driven healthcare, whether through ACOs or some future model.


Every ACO should seek to offer their customers a coherent, delightful digital experience whether on desktop or mobile.

Just as importantly, though, every aspect of that experience should fall under the banner of the ACO brand, both to assure patients that they are working with a health system they can trust, as well as to position the health system for the future.

Mike Gordon is the Chief Strategy and Alliances Officer at Healthx. He has nearly 25 years of software and information technology experience with deep expertise in applying technology solutions to healthcare payer business problems. His passion is creating innovative, disruptive solutions that will transform the healthcare industry.