The rise in chronic illness diagnoses has generated high healthcare costs as patients navigate numerous doctor visits, hospital stays, and surgeries. Many of these conditions are comorbid, meaning patients and health plans must manage the burden and costs of multiple illnesses, which deters members from seeking appropriate care.
Many health plans and medical providers are collaborating to develop digital content and tools to facilitate the healthcare experience and decrease associated expenses. So what should you know about these solutions, and how can you leverage digital resources to engage members and improve their overall experiences with the modern healthcare system?
As patient care and health conditions continue to evolve, insurance providers and institutions must adopt a holistic approach to digital engagement that accommodates each illness. Health plans can leverage existing member relationships to access information that helps customize and advance available medical resources. This member-centric approach to digital content gives patients a diverse experience with their insurance plans, allowing them the freedom to navigate the healthcare system independently.
From a cost perspective, patients often become overwhelmed with managing several conditions. Courtney Sadlon, Senior Program Manager at Wellframe, addresses the cost benefits of digital approaches stating, “Studies over the past couple of years have shown that digital-type approaches are actually not only helping to improve that member experience but ultimately helping to reduce some of the complications associated with managing these chronic conditions, like reducing inpatient admissions and driving members towards preventative health care services, rather than leveraging things like the emergency room.” When patients utilize online resources and manage their health in advance to offset potential illnesses, they can mitigate healthcare expenses significantly.
In addition to providing individualized resources, digital platforms can recommend and provide access to care programs that support customers’ health goals and encourage them to take control of their journey. For instance, patients can use member dashboards and mobile apps through their insurance plans to create daily checklists that hold them accountable for healthcare management.
Some customers may want to implement lifestyle changes to improve their chronic conditions. Holistic care programs provide a nurturing and empowering environment that motivates patients to manage their health. Similarly, comprehensive care programs provide opportunities for daily engagement and informational sessions for patients receiving a chronic illness diagnosis who want to understand their condition or avoid hospitalization.
When deploying digital platforms for customer engagement, it’s crucial to recognize the learning curve that accompanies usage. With customers already struggling to handle health complications and expenses, providers must promote educational initiatives to streamline access.
One instructional approach involves developing software with integrated communication channels so insurance or medical providers can answer common questions regarding care and accessible resources. These channels should be flexible to accommodate members who want to utilize traditional methods to engage with their health plans. Comparably, healthcare institutions can employ surveys to gather patient insights and make adjustments to digital tools based on feedback.
Ultimately, these digital-first strategies should encourage self-advocacy, enabling members to explore and discover relevant medical research that interests them. This foundational component of online engagement promotes digital literacy and empowers patients to seek life-saving care.