Many of the nation’s top health insurers and health care organizations are looking to engage members and customers in a more meaningful way using available technologies such as interactive websites and mobile applications. The challenges we find when working with these organizations are that many are not tracking the right engagement information or, even worse, don’t have access to the information in the first place. Most organizations that have a robust website will use some sort of web analytics as a component of their interactive offerings, but how are they using this analytic information to improve member engagement and reduce expenses?
The importance of the web channel for health care cannot be overstated. Consumers are migrating to the Internet and are using interactive digital channels for virtually all aspects of how they consume information. Combine that with the potential cost savings resulting in reduced customer service inquiries that can come with putting forth a high-quality website makes the web effort and business case very appealing to health care organizations. A savvy health insurance company can dramatically reduce its marketing and customer service expenses by transitioning its members to high online use.
As many health care organizations seek to embrace a more consumer-based approach and invest in their marketing infrastructures, we witness several challenges with respect to how current members are able to interact with their accounts and how potential new customers are able to make a purchase of a highly complex and personal product. Here are three concepts we have established to start meaningful engagement on the Web:
1. Have you established a value for specific member user actions on your site?
Many health care websites we review are the result of years and years of legacy content publishing and there has been limited to no evaluation of the value that the content provides to members as they interact with the site. A common misperception is that a “page view” represents positive engagement. We like to think of unique visitors as a better metric of how your website is gaining adoption with your members. Organizations need to ask: What are the tasks that my members want to achieve when they visit my site and how do we measure how well we are accomplishing this? This could be evidenced in direct monetary value (new members enrolled) or increased operational efficiency (i.e., a saved call to customer service).
2. Know your customers!
Make every effort possible to prove to your members that you know them as individuals and families, and that the firm will always strive to support and serve them on your website and throughout member materials by providing immediate answers to top questions and by anticipating their needs.
3. Web site structure, design and content management are critical.
The way your website is constructed, as well as the user data and content structure of available health care plans, options and member information must be optimized for personalization and dynamic content delivery. We see many websites that do not provide enough granular information online for prospects to make purchasing decisions, or allow for current members to fully interact with their own plans in ways such as learning more about their current coverage options.
A good example of how some health care organizations are enhancing member engagement comes from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts (BCBSMA). BCBSMA recently announced the availability of MyBlueHealth SM – a suite of Web, telephone, and onsite services designed to help BCBSMA’s employer accounts promote healthier lifestyles – positively impacting employee health, as well as the rising costs of care and costs associated with loss of productivity.
Particularly innovative is the new Mybluehealthma.com website. Free to all BCBSMA members and available for BCBSMA accounts’ total employee populations, the Mybluehealthma.com site provides useful tools to empower people to improve their wellness, while providing BCBSMA employer accounts with advanced reporting and analytics to help them target wellness programs that are the most relevant and useful to their specific employee populations.
“When leveraged, the advanced analytics can be very helpful to an employer. An employer might learn that a large portion of its population has diabetes and can then choose to invest in programs to assist in diabetes management – such as cooking or exercise classes. The ability to take an aggregate view of an employee populations’ health concerns and assist them with those concerns while also addressing cost makes this a powerful solution for employers,” said Jennifer Borislow, President of Borislow Insurance Agency, Inc., of Methuen, Massachusetts.
In addition to the power of the analytics and reporting, the MyBlueHealth SM incentive engine tracks online activity, such as the completion of milestone events (i.e., health assessment completion, exercise/nutrition activity-tracking, participation in an online or telephonic program), and can assign points based on a specific company’s incentive structure. These points can be redeemed for gift and debit cards or employer-based rewards, such as paid time off or premium discounts. Alternatively, companies can track the points and tie incentives to personal spending accounts, such as health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs) or health savings accounts (HSAs).