The role of digital engagement in improving quality of care

In previous blogs, I’ve written about how digital engagement strategies can help healthcare payers reshape transactions like choosing a doctor and ordering an ID card. These online self-service functions are the most basic form of digital engagement. But digital engagement should be more than a self-service channel. It should be the backbone for everything you do to drive better member decisions about their health and healthcare.

In particular, if improving quality and, by extension, improving HEDIS® scores, is a priority in your organization (which it should be) it’s time to take another look at your engagement strategies. As a payer, you have a fantastic opportunity to employ digital strategies aimed at improving healthcare quality. You have ready access to claims data and other relevant medical information. You have a direct line to your members for targeted messaging and clinical interventions. And when it comes to health improvement interventions in the place, your role as a third party insulates you from some of the privacy concerns employers have. Consider, for example, these ways you could use digital strategies to engage members on selected HEDIS measures:

Medication adherence

  • Allow members to set up “push notification” medication reminders on your mobile app
  • Deliver medication refill reminders on your member portal and/or member app
  • Provide links to trusted, third-party information about side effects and usage instructions

Preventive care 

  • Use personalized messaging on your member portal and/or member app to encourage members to schedule tests and screenings
  • Create an interactive self-assessment where members can grade themselves on preventive care (if you’re a Facebook user, you know people love to do self assessments – it’s fun to understand yourself and how you behave!)
  • Design an incentive program that uses an interactive graphic or a “gamification” angle to promote screenings

The key is to understand that quality-related engagement is different from the other forms of engagement. There are different tiers of behavior change in play. It’s relatively easy to prompt a change on transactional items like enrollment. It is more difficult to change how members interact with the health care system.

Why is that? The fact is that, despite the growth of healthcare consumerism, many individuals can’t easily navigate the landscape on their own. They don’t know how to use the system at the right point in time for the right reason. They want and need help (an incentives) to make lifestyle changes so they minimize their need for healthcare services. You’re in the perfect position to do that using digital engagement. It requires creativity and effort, but it can be done – and it will produce positive health outcomes for your members.

Note: For more ideas on engaging members and providers on quality measures, download our guide:  6 Strategies to Improve HEDIS and Star Ratings.