Closing Care Gaps and Collecting Health Equity Information: 3 Key Principles

Christian Bagge, VP Payer Strategy

As consumers, we are bombarded with advertisements everywhere we turn. From the radio to TV, billboards, breaks for commercials on your favorite streaming channels, and even our social media feeds, the fight for our attention is all-encompassing.  With so much noise, how do we decide what is worth paying attention to? 

Healthcare insurers and providers are part of this communication mix, vying for our attention just like any other organization. You would think that, since they are focused on the most important part of a human’s life – our health – they would have an easier time capturing our attention, but that’s not typically the case.

This may be due to a history of healthcare not being in the “people” business, as strange as it may sound. A majority of health insurers and providers communicated with their consumers through explanations of benefits (EOBs), appointment reminders, and unfocused mass mailings. There was adoption of phone calls, interactive voice response (IVR), emails, and text messages, hoping that something would catch the eye of the consumer. Within the last decade, healthcare has slowly shifted from communication to engagement, truly entering the realm of the “people” business.

When a company engaged with a consumer, whether it’s in healthcare or another industry, there are three things that matter:  

  1. A hook – providing a reason to pay attention from the start 
  2. Answer the “what’s in it for me” question quickly and clearly
  3. If the consumer decides to move forward, making it easy to do so.

The best in the business do just that – Amazon, Dunkin Donuts, Jiffy Lube; just look at where we spend your money – chances are they’re aligned with the three principles above.

When it comes to closing care gaps, all three of those principles need to be leveraged. The more creative the hook, the faster the “what’s in it for me” can be answered; the “click here” to schedule, the more likely you’ll be moving those in the denominator to the numerator. And there’s an opportunity to engage them more deeply, i.e,  “since I have you here, can I ask a quick question about…”. Once you have their attention, have provided them some value through getting their buy-in,  and earned a certain level of trust – now is the time to ask a quick question to deepen understanding of the consumer. 

Currently, Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) is an important topic for health insurers and providers alike. Here are a few tips they can use to maximize those valuable consumer touchpoints and deepen engagement:

  • Link to a brief survey (less than five questions) about their current state & needs. 
  • Tell them how many questions there are or how much time it will take to complete at the outset. 
  • Frame it as something that would benefit them, won’t take but 2 minutes and by doing so they could be eligible for additional support. 

Adding the SDOH survey to consumer communication also serves multiple purposes. The provider/health insurer gets credit for capturing the responses; the member will feel personalized engagement in the additional support/services they receive. And if done correctly, the survey data provided by the member can be leveraged in future outreach. So when they’re due for that next healthcare screening or appointment, offer up a transportation provider to give them a ride – and an easy way to do it-  since they expressed challenges with transportation in their survey response. 

Get Well has shown that maximizing member touch points increases member activation, retention, and engagement. Visit this page to learn more about how to utilize member communication and assessment tools.