Mobile poised to transform consumer healthcare engagement

For those of us involved with consumer engagement in healthcare, the past few years have been an interesting ride.  The imperative for engagement has shot to the top as a preeminent trend in a market that has begun to shift toward increased demand side influence.

But achieving effective engagement has been difficult.  Designing the right mix of message content, tonality, incentives, and delivery methods to drive consumer action has been a real learning experience.  There have been some successes but more than a fair share of unmet objectives.

As digital options have gained in number and sophistication, more opportunities have emerged.  In the health plan arena, there are more and better member portal options, giving individuals easier access to relevant and personalized health benefit information.  Online clinical support, price transparency tools, health improvement options and wellness resources are also increasingly popular.

But the real game-change in the digital engagement realm is mobile

Health-related apps have grown in numbers as well as sophistication and impact, with some 100,000 now on the market, and many more to come.

The trajectories in mobile are staggering.  Two stats I heard recently are that in the past two years, there have been more smart phones produced than the total number of television sets manufactured – ever – and that 90% of text messages are read within three minutes of delivery…!

From these data and the emergence of many innovative solutions, it’s clear that consumer healthcare engagement is in for some fundamental change.

Given that 2/3 of Americans have a smart phone today, we’re past the tipping point for access. We must now overcome legacy mindset barriers to communicating via mobile and get to it.

Whether it is appointment reminders, video demonstrations, social nudging, coaching interactions or any of a wide number of potential applications, mobile is set to become the consumer healthcare communications centerpiece.

It will also lead to a new model for consumer engagement in the digital age

We see a model steeped in strategy, with activation components that are dynamic, individualized and interactive. And the beauty of mobile is that the messaging is literally in the palm of your hand and set for immediate response.

This is a fast-moving space with real potential for smart solutions to drive consumer action. With mobile, timelines shrink, interactivity rises, positive actions occur and behaviors shift.

We believe that consumers are open and ready to participate if sponsors are willing to be bold in shedding their dated perspectives about how to interface with their members.

For all the struggles that health plans have had with engagement, the answer has been right there, in the palm of our hand