Can your tech do this? How to enhance your health plan members’ digital experience.

Jul 23, 2019

Health plans are shifting focus to ensure member satisfaction. Here’s how technology — even internal solutions — affect the digital experience of your health plan’s members.

Do you ever think about how different banking is now compared to 10, 20, 30 years ago? First came ATMs. Then debit cards. Then online banking. Today, if you step foot inside a bank, unless it’s for a high-trust/high-value conversation where only face-to-face will do, it’s a huge inconvenience. The world is filled with advanced technology and today’s consumers don’t care why healthcare lags behind. If the member experience you provide isn’t the seamless digital interaction they have come to expect, the next time they have a choice, will they choose you?

Health plans should focus now more than ever on the digital experience of their members to ensure satisfaction. Much like finance, the healthcare industry is becoming increasingly digital. Adding to that, many of your members are shouldering more healthcare costs than ever, which has them seeking clarity at the most granular levels. In a culture of choices, your health plan members are discerning clientele. 

Patients are Consumers

“Patients are increasingly becoming consumers because they have an increasing responsibility for the cost of their care,” writes Jonah Comstock. Statistically, you likely already know that member satisfaction is important because most of you are focusing on it. But what we can tell you is that regardless of a focus on digital experience, the big pillars of member satisfaction have not changed: service and value. 

Without nailing these basics, all the digital strategy in the world won’t help. Health plans are facing major shifts based on the consumer-focused mindset of the times. In short, your health plan member has choices now (and even those in group plans are being given more options by employers). 

Research shows that 42% of seniors prefer to shop for healthcare coverage online. (source)

Basic customer service capabilities are part of the member-first focus shift at health plans. With the right focus on the tenets of member service, digital capabilities can augment them. When health plan members look for a good digital experience, that often means convenience, transparency and personalized communication. With the right technology, you can more easily satisfy these health plan member needs. 

Digital Experience Correlates to Member Satisfaction

While health plans have been citing an increased focus on the member experience, remember that doesn’t only mean the digital front door (e.g., health plan-to-member customer service-focused apps and portals). In a recent survey, 80% of Americans asked said they utilize online health information. 64% say they reference online provider reviews, and a quarter say they now use mobile tracking tools. 

The study’s author concludes, “Patient engagement in decision-making [is] associated with increased patient satisfaction and improved health outcomes.” For health plans, focusing on the digital experience of members is directly correlated with satisfaction. Create an experience that is highly engaging, and your member NPS is likely to be high (read more on measuring net promoter score [NPS] here).

While the correlation between an engaging digital experience and member satisfaction is clear, a new Forrester analysis says that only about half of health plan enrollees feel that their interactions with insurers are helpful. The analysis concludes, “Health insurers should take this into consideration when evaluating and adopting new digital customer service technologies like chatbots or real-time conversational guidance and analytics tools.”

What’s next? 

Any of your health plan’s internal processes and relationships with other stakeholders like providers and third-party service providers that could impact members are ripe for innovation. That level of comprehensive communication — with third-party suppliers, providers, and members — is exactly what ClarisHealth’s technology platform Pareo®is designed to offer. 

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