Long before the pandemic forced the healthcare industry into crisis mode, healthcare executives were navigating a wave of systemic change – from patients (better known now as “healthcare consumers”) shifting how and from whom they seek care, to payers driving providers to adopt value-based care models.
The pandemic has further accelerated competitive challenges, as healthcare consumers forego existing providers in favor of those who promise superior safety and convenience. Certain healthcare consumers already expect their health experiences to be digital-first – and as consistent, familiar, and seamless as transacting with Amazon or Apple, consumer brands that increasingly set the standard for health experiences.
Healthcare executives recognize the shifts underway. Yet it is a rare provider or payer that “speaks” digital. Adopting electronic channels requires a major mindset shift for an industry that has traditionally viewed engagement through the lens of clinical visits.
There are easy ways to rapidly leverage digital communication techniques to improve the healthcare consumer experience and gain a competitive advantage. My colleague Lisa Spira and I will be talking about this in a webinar on March 10th. Regardless of digital maturity, all healthcare companies can improve the clarity and consistency with which they communicate across the consumer journey.
By leveraging AI-generated messages, healthcare companies will improve the digital experience in the following ways:
Capture digital contact details
Email has become so standard for so many people that it’s hard to believe that healthcare providers and payers don’t always have up-to-date digital contact information for their consumer base. Step one is to develop more effective processes and tools for collecting and updating email addresses, mobile numbers, and consent into all communication touchpoints to increase opportunities to engage.
Appointment check-in and policy renewal are both good opportunities to collect data using forms and questionnaires that prompt healthcare consumers for their digital details. Call centers can also steer healthcare consumers to share details and adopt digital channels.
One health insurer worked with Persado on an IVR prompt that urged healthcare consumers who’d called into the call center to accept a one-time text with a link to the insurer’s digital app. The Persado-optimized prompt emphasized the speed and ease of the app and encouraged 67% more people to opt for the text, resulting in $1.7 million in annual savings due to decreased call center volume.
Motivate healthcare consumers to establish provider relationships that are in-network
Use digital contact details to encourage healthy behaviors, provide relevant information, and point to in-network providers. Healthcare consumers who address their needs with a narrow set of in-network providers are less expensive and easier to track — both foundations of value-based care.
Wellness visits are one of the most powerful ways to leverage digital channels for early engagement, especially for consumers who are new to your business. These visits habituate healthcare consumers to specific facilities or providers, in turn allowing providers to identify chronic conditions or risk factors they need to manage.
One large U.S. insurer worked with Persado on an email campaign to promote biometric screening as part of the onboarding process. Persado’s AI-generated email encouraged 25% more healthcare consumers to create a screening appointment, compared to the insurer’s control message.
Telehealth has also emerged during the pandemic as a new standard promoted by the CDC for providing synchronous or asynchronous care to healthcare consumers who don’t necessarily need to see a practitioner in person. Telehealth requires new processes and mechanisms for digital engagement to facilitate visits, determine follow-ups, and ensure continuity of care.
Manage conditions and encourage prevention through frequent digital engagement
Consumers with known health conditions, and those at high risk for one, do better when they use relatively simple techniques that help them engage in healthy behaviors. And those behaviors are more likely to stick when they’re encouraged by, or set up with, providers who effectively communicate their benefits.
One-to-one healthcare visits used to be the only opportunity to deliver that information (usually in the form of a stern lecture). Today there are better options. In fact, health offices that send email health reminders or information “from” that healthcare consumer’s doctor achieve 400% higher healthcare consumer engagement — a simple way to scale impact without stretching doctors.
Healthcare providers and payers can also leverage digital channels to drive in-person, high-impact preventive interventions like immunizations, mammograms, or diabetes management.
One Persado healthcare consumer, for instance, doubled the number of recipients who made an appointment to get their flu shot with a well-worded email — and healthcare consumers who get their flu shots are more likely to stay with the provider who gave it.
Like all consumer businesses today, healthcare companies need new ways to serve their healthcare consumers and keep them year-over-year. Yet they also need ways to reduce the costs of care for those healthcare consumers. More effective, timely, AI-enabled communication is an underutilized tool that can serve both ends to improve the healthcare consumer experience while encouraging healthy behaviors. Join me and Lisa Spira as we talk about effective communications during the next phase of the pandemic — including messages geared to healthcare consumers.