It’s a trick question. While there are never too many channels, there can certainly be too few. It’s simple–members and providers want and need to interact with their payers conveniently and on-demand. Providing them with multiple access points to do so effectively opens the digital front door.
If it takes too much effort for a user to open the digital front door, they won’t. Instead, they’ll avoid seeking necessary information, resources, and services. They’ll call the payer’s contact center, or, as the healthcare industry shifts to an increasingly virtual landscape, they’ll find a payer who offers a more updated experience. (Need a refresher on what the digital front door is and what it means to payers? Start here.)
Fragmented user experiences result in reduced engagement, poor clinical outcomes, and decreased revenue. But, when payers provide an open digital front door, members and providers come to trust them not only as a helpful resource for plan management information but to guide them throughout the healthcare journey, from cost transparency to care collaboration and everything in between.
Here are some of the channels payers can use to open the digital front door. For each channel, we’ve noted if it’s primarily going to be used by members, providers, or both. Ultimately, an omnichannel approach with a single sign-on authentication process provides the most unified experience for both members and providers.
Engagement portals are the core of most payer’s engagement strategies, and for many users, this is their tried and true digital front door. The best way to ensure that it’s functioning is to ensure that the user experience is aesthetically pleasing and straightforward to navigate while providing single sign-on authentication and automatically adjusting the experience across user devices.
If not all, most members have smartphones, and whichever channel they use to interact with payers likely originates from these devices. Native mobile apps are the most direct channel, providing convenient facial recognition and fingerprint authentication, simplifying navigation of resources, information, and services, and encouraging engagement via push notifications.
Chatbots, or virtual assistants, take the effort out of member and provider interactions. Instead of asking them to find information independently, they can ask questions and receive answers or get directions to a relevant resource. And because these interactions are automated, they can occur anytime, anywhere.
Offering the verbal equivalent of chat, IVR Voice Assistants engage in conversational interactions with members and providers 24/7. Like with chat, they need only ask to be given a direct answer or guided to the resource they seek.
Text solutions have the power to take the digital front door directly to members. Instead of waiting for them to knock on that door, it ushers them right through it by sending messages to their phone, encouraging them to engage in wellness behaviors, and close gaps in care.
Omnichannel Engagement Platform
The best strategy offers all of these channels through an omnichannel engagement platform that is scalable and adaptable as additional channels become available.
Focusing on a comprehensive platform also allows payers to think about the experience behind the digital front door because no matter how well the channel strategy works if they don’t find what they need once they enter, members and providers won’t be back.
In the increasingly digital healthcare ecosystem, payers who adopt the digital front door early will have a competitive advantage. A unified digital engagement platform attracts and retains users, provides necessary integrations, and delivers results to payers.
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