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Why focusing on member engagement delivers better outcomes

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For any organization associated with the healthcare sector, keeping patients and members satisfied is key to driving growth and improving your bottom line. Focusing on member engagement can help increase membership adoption. Engagement builds advocates for your brand, and leads to a more knowledgeable and healthier community.

What is Member engagement?

Member or patient engagement can be described as a series of ongoing interactions between a person and a healthcare organization. Member engagement requires building positive relationships with your customers, which is then the foundation for them not to churn from your organization.

Developing a positive relationship helps capture your member’s attention long enough to ensure that they remember the positive role your services play in their health. Effective patient and member engagement requires 2 way communication and involves a holistic approach built using patient health data. 

Why is member engagement required?

Member and patient engagement can help achieve 

  • Improving patient experience (including quality of care as well as patient satisfaction)
  • Reduce overall cost of care
  • Improve overall healthcare in communities.

Hospitals and health plan providers can consider investing patient experience programs as well as member outreach schemes to drive member engagement.

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How to develop a member engagement plan that works

Although it may seem daunting at first, delivering the best possible healthcare experience to your members is no rocket science. The following guidelines can help establish a member engagement plan that helps achieve your organizational goals.

Outreach

A healthcare provider typically sees over 2000 patients over a year. However, they need to have the resources which help maintain their connection with their patients beyond their appointments. Patient portals can help keep this conversation going and give patients access to valuable care data. 

However, patients are yet to fully utilize these portals to their full extent, with physicians using portals more frequently than their patients. The need for alternative methods for reaching out to patients to keep them engaged is clear. 

Member engagement patient portal statistics

Omnichanel outreach is the way forward

As of now, Patient portals are the industry standard outreach mechanism for healthcare agencies and healthcare plan providers. Healthcare organizations need to augment patient portals with omnichannel feedback platforms to develop a relationship with their customers. 

Healthcare survey tools like Voxco helps healthcare companies to reach out to their patients and members via CATI/IVR, online surveys, and face to face mechanisms (tablet or smartphone based channels) for feedback.

With the pandemic ensuring the world takes digital health solutions more seriously, it is easier than ever to reach out to members with a degree of success. 

CATI/IVR, Online, Mobile offline - all of them have a unique target audience

Each channel has the ability to empower healthcare plan providers to engage a different demographic. Reports show that 81% of Americans are online every day, with 1 in 3 being online throughout. This makes reaching out to patients online a viable option for most demographics. 

However, when it comes to online surveys, especially those shared over social media or via push notifications, researchers need to be careful about the survey length. Although people may be online, they may not have the time to partake in a lengthy survey. Emails are more effective for lengthy surveys and more descriptive messaging.

IVR and CATI surveys are a reliable technique for approaching patients for feedback, and their usefulness has only been amplified during the pandemic. CATI surveys have shown themselves to be invaluable to researchers during the pandemic.

Phone surveys are excellent for when you want to get extensive feedback and can give rich insights into how your member engagement programs are faring in the real world.

Engagement

For healthcare plan providers, engaging your customers depends greatly on your messaging. The end product is a healthier customer. Being healthy or working towards good health is a winning scenario for patients, payers as well as providers. 

Social attributes like geography, education, employment status and income levels play a key role in how much importance a patient attributes to their health. By engaging with your target audience, benefits for the community in general tend to stay for the long term.

Engaged patients are more knowledgeable, healthier patients

Patient or member enablement is your customers’ ability to understand and effectively deal with their illness after consulting with their primary care provider. By keeping member engagement levels high, you also ensure that your patient enablement is upto a high standard. Engaged patients are therefore more knowledgeable and can manage their care more effectively. This translates into lower chances of them requiring expensive urgent care. 

Surveying members at key touchpoints is a good way to educate them on how to more effectively manage their care, and lead to better health outcomes. Member engagement also results in lower costs for healthcare plan providers – Healthier patients are less likely to require cost intensive treatment, while being happier as well.

Leverage Voxco to engage patients

To ensure a positive member experience, healthcare plan providers need to establish a comprehensive system to track customer feedback at several touchpoints. Voxco’s omnichannel survey platform has helped multiple organizations operating in the healthcare sector to gather insights and gauge their customer, patient or member experience. 

Healthcare organizations need to set up a holistic system to gauge experiences and establish parameters for successful outcomes. These will help boost member engagement levels.

Listen

Identify key listening points in your members’ journey with your organization and incorporate both solicited and unsolicited feedback into your dataset.

Interpret

Experience management teams within your organization must analyze feedback to uncover insights. These insights then need to be made accessible to relevant stakeholders within your organization. Analysis can help identify which customers are at risk of churn.

React

Identify key pain points in your member journey and work on rectifying them. These can be systemic changes or even responding to individual complaints.

Monitor

Once key changes have been made, experience management teams need to monitor results and see if member engagement has improved within previously decided parameters.

Satisfaction

Patients and members who are satisfied with their experience with a healthcare organization are inclined to stay with the organization for the long term. Although satisfaction is a subjective term, it can be quantified. Metrics like CSAT, CES and NPS help track member satisfaction and experience at key touchpoints within your organization.

Better member retention and re-enrollment rates

Studies show that 6% more members renewed their membership with an organization after said organization implemented a member engagement plan. These improvements have no dependency on organization size, budget, type of organization. The results are clear – when members see an effort being made, they are likely to stay within their comfort zone, i.e, your organization.

Sidhant

Sidhant

Sidhant Shori is a Content Marketer at Voxco. He's got a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science Engineering and leverages his interest in market trends as well as his experience in creating content. He's also a Sci-Fi geek and enjoys video games and movies and also likes reading thrillers.

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