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A lot has been said about customer experience in healthcare. Accountable care, patient engagement and consumer driven healthcare are some of the terms we hear frequently. Without a doubt customer engagement is a key issue to solve in this industry. How can health insurance carriers and providers engage their paying customers and ensure proper usage of their products and services?
Some of these are known challenges. For good reason, financial services products are called intangibles – something that is not tangible can’t be understood easily. Other problems relate to ownership and financial responsibility. Employees have little visibility of, or participation in, employer’s insurance purchase decisions and contributions which impact their compensation packages.
To have a complete picture of what is needed, and to truly engage customers in healthcare, we need to look at three interrelated components:
- The clinical component is about going to the doctor. It is everything related to the healthcare provider relationship. Finding a doctor, making an appointment, going to the doctor, getting treatment, getting a specialist referral, doing lab tests, etc.
- The financial part relates to the financial enablement of accessing care. It is about the insurance policies and pre-tax accounts that allow the customer to pay for healthcare services and to be financially protected in case of costly procedures or long-term care needs.
- The lifestyle piece is about personal choices that impact health. Physical exercise, eating well, maintaining good mental health, etc. The things that really move the needle here are simple: weight loss, tobacco cessation and alcohol cessation initiatives. Weight and tobacco use directly correlate to serious chronic diseases. The customer can be empowered to make lifestyle changes, make the right choices and gain visibility over improvements.
When looking at the intersections we can identify some capabilities that can significantly improve the customer experience:
Intersection A Capabilities:
- In-network provider directory
- Procedure finder and cost estimation
- Prescription finder
- Deductible and coshare utilization
- Procedure code driven EMR
Intersection B Capabilities:
- Wellness discounts
- Health rewards
- Financial incentives
- Personalized coverage for people willing to monitor and disclose lifestyle behaviors
Intersection C Capabilities:
- Annual checkup
- Physician related alerts and notifications
- Biometrics updates
- Education and awareness initiatives
- Wellness programs
All three components have a commonality which will allow the parties involved to provide future-thinking customer engagement. That center point is data. Data is collected across each interaction but rarely, or poorly, shared and utilized. Through the use of digital technologies, the three components will be able to communicate whilst maintaining patient and financial confidentiality. By creating a complete picture of the patient’s lifestyle, and clinical and financial situation, the industry will be in a position to offer transparency, more tailored offerings, and ultimately a far superior customer expeperience.
There’s a lot to be done to be on par with other industries when it comes to customer engagement. But, by putting the customer first, digital technology can be the linchpin that connects all these otherwise fragmented interactions.
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