Portal Engagement Doesn’t Just Happen

Want Portal Engagement? You Need a Plan

Increasing portal engagement requires careful strategy with an eye peeled for opportunity.  Marc Ostrofsky, an American entrepreneur and New York Times bestselling author of Get Rich Click!: The Ultimate Guide to Making Money Online, once said: “Opportunities present themselves every day–to everyone. You just have to be alert and ready to act.”

Certainly health plans look for opportunities to increase portal engagement with members because it leads to huge cost savings.  The challenge, however, lies in figuring out exactly how to prepare for action.

The good news is – we have a member portal engagement action plan.

Touch points that affect portal engagement

First step is to identify every touch point you have with members.  Next, sort into low and high influence touches:

Low influence touch points – Communications where the payer has limited or no influence over how members responds.

High influence touch points – Communications where the payer has significant influence over the member’s response.

After separating the touch points into these groups, prioritize them according to where it makes the most sense to invest resources. When prioritization is complete, it’s time to get to work.

Indirect influence

Low influence touch points are opportunities to drive member engagement simply by providing the online portal address on communications such as e-mails, direct mail letters, enrollment materials and even the back of health plan identification cards.

Direct influence

High touch opportunities are rich with potential but require significant planning in proportion to reap significant return. Customer service, for example, can play a big role here. You would do well to plan and develop customer service programs that focus on the following four areas:

1) Awareness

  • Provide an automated greeting that tells members about the portal
  • Train customer service representatives to always mention the portal during conversations to make members aware of its existence and functionalities
  • Make sure that the portal has an easy-to-use and easy-to-remember name

2) Incentives

  • Provide members with an incentive to use the portal – for example, gift certificates to a department store, movie theatre or restaurant
  • Encourage customer service representatives to drive members to portals with incentives – for example, providing a pizza party for every 1,000 portal visits

3) Convenience

  • Make sure the portal provides immediate access to needed documents
  • Train customer service representatives to help members create an account on the spot

4) Value

  • Make sure that customer service representatives can articulate the value of the portal when talking to members
  • Enable customer service representatives to use the portal as they are working with members in real time

Your plan for increasing portal engagement should include identifying all touchpoints, sorting them into categories of high or low influence, then developing them for maximum impact. While nothing is certain except death and taxes –a good plan certainly tips the odds of increasing portal engagement in your favor.


By Bruce Pritchett