When it comes to providing high quality, affordable health coverage, payers who adopt a multi- channel communication strategy have the edge over those who stick with traditional legacy solutions. A growing body of research demonstrates the critical role that digital communications play in improving consumer awareness, member engagement, and compliance with treatment programs [i]:

  • Using apps and online portals to promote communication between patients and physicians can improve engagement rates by 60% or higher.
  • Texting patients can improve medication compliance for patients with chronic diseases from 50% to 67.8%. That’s a 17.8% increase overall.
  • One study found that employing multimedia programs could help patients understand complex information about health, self-care, and upcoming procedures. Among 29 participating hospitals, 86% improved physician to patient communication.
  • Increasing online patient involvement can also boost satisfaction ratings up to 90% among both patients and physicians.
  • Increased online patient involvement can result in a 90% satisfaction rate for both patients and physicians.
  • Patients with access to an online portal were more likely to receive preventive tests and screenings. Nearly 1 in 9 patients were more likely to receive colorectal cancer screenings. A slightly higher rate of women received mammogram screenings.

Incorporating digital into your communication solution can yield impressive results. However, digital transformation must be properly implemented to be effective. A recent survey reveals that while 66 of the 100 largest U.S. hospitals offer patients mHealth apps, patient usage clocks hovered around a lowly 2%, primarily because the apps did not provide the functions and user experience patients need. The survey’s creators estimated that hospitals stand to lose as much as $100 million annually due to the low adoption rate.

Interconnectivity poses another challenge to digital transformation. Experts predict that the market for healthcare and medical devices will increase sevenfold and contribute between $600 billion and $800 billion in global value by 2018.[ii] However, the sheer volume of available products has created a disjointed system of wearable devices, apps, and platforms that don’t communicate with each other. To implement an integrated multi-channel communication strategy, healthcare payers will need to create a digital ecosystem in which apps, platforms, and devices speak the same language.

Patient concerns about data privacy also hinder widespread adoption of digital communication. In one survey, 75% of respondents said they were “very” or “somewhat” concerned about the privacy and security of their online health records. [iii] Iafola (2016).

Payers can play a powerful role in shaping consumer healthcare decisions by helping them make data-driven, research-based decisions based the needs of the individual consumer and delivered with personalized attention. This approach addresses the cognitive and emotional needs of consumers. How they do this is by investing in a communication solution that integrates within a digital ecosystem of platforms, apps, and devices, draws upon consumer analytics, and delivers information on demand through customers’ preferred channels.

Here are some things to look for when selecting a digitally-enabled communication solution:

  • Interactive HTML5/multi-channel outputs that offer electronic delivery, mobile enablement, and user response tracking. Look for responsive design capabilities that render output to display directly on mobile devices and provide a visually striking interface that engages customers.
  • Digital onboarding options that include app integration and e-signatures, so you can move the entire application and onboarding process to a digital environment and eliminate face-to-face visits to sign documents.
  • Email/Archiving/web integration that can send encrypted and secure correspondence via email and archive outputs in a centralized document archiving solution.
  • Portal Framework. A browser-based portal system provides business users and customers with instantaneous, convenient access to products and services in a secure environment.
  • Multi-lingual support: Look for a solution that adopts Unicode architecture to support multiple languages. This feature is a must for businesses that serve non-English speaking and international populations.
  • Production monitoring. Your solution should provide reports, notifications, and error messages via a web interface to monitor production, validate data, and filter outputs.
  • Custom solutions: Your solution should integrate with web-portals via web services and email registration systems that enroll customers via email.
  • Security: The solution should include security features that allow you to track user activity, offer version control, archiving, configurable, role-based user profiles. If you will be using a SaaS or cloud-based solution, make sure the vendor works with a secure cloud-hosting provider that is certified against an industry-recognized security framework like ISO 27001, HITRUST CSF, PCI DSS, or SSAE 16.

Adopting a digitally-enabled communication strategy is essential to raising consumer awareness, increasing compliance with treatment plans, and promoting participation in wellness programs. Elixir provides payers with a multichannel communication solution that integrates with healthcare’s growing digital ecosystem, enabling payers to provide the personalized support and automated services that members want.