Consumer Engagement Hubs – a promising opportunity in healthcare
Consumer-centric industries from retail to banking have embraced the engagement hub model and continue to make progress on providing personalized, integrated solutions resulting in high consumer engagement. Healthcare payers are under tremendous pressures to change their operating models and reduce costs in an uncertain climate, with many disruptive changes in the healthcare industry from the Affordable Care Act, to the entrance of non-traditional players, to the Quadruple Aim.
The one constant is the unstoppable shift to consumer-centric healthcare service models that is forcing healthcare payers and providers to rethink how they engage their constituencies to better meet rising expectations and market forces.
Adopting and extending the “Engagement Hub” model, utilized in other consumer-centric industries, across healthcare ecosystems can provide healthcare consumers the same kind of personalized, integrated experiences consumers have come to expect, increasing engagement, access, transparency, and affordability along the way.
Yet Healthcare Consumer Engagement Hubs have not gained traction
The “Healthcare Consumer Engagement Hub” model has not yet seen wide adoption amongst payers and providers – despite the fact that these segments of the industry are notoriously understood to be troubled by siloed data , disconnected systems and fragmented customer experiences. The considerable draw of consumer engagement benefits have not been sufficient for organizations to prioritize implementing this contemporary model.
Meanwhile, the average healthcare consumer is becoming more technically savvy, more educated, more motivated and more willing to act on their own behalf. The proliferation of digital healthcare solutions has added complexity. New well-funded technology players from outside the healthcare industry are entering the market with promises of revolutionary efficiencies and satisfaction, and now it has become imperative.
So why does healthcare consumer engagement across ecosystems matter? And how will the adoption of a healthcare ecosystem engagement hub model enable healthcare payers and providers to deliver the customer journeys that today’s consumers want in the modern marketplace?
Continuous and reactive digital innovation is causing nasty side effects
To be fair, healthcare payers and providers are continuously attempting to address engagement gaps and engagement challenges – despite an ever-changing landscape of legislation, contracting, technology, and competition. Much of this is done with partners (large and small) that are often technology-enabled and similarly innovating continuously. Unfortunately, this continuous attempt to address these problems results in the inadvertent adoption of point solutions that has highly undesirable side effects for the consumer:
- Fragmented experiences with a confusing array of digital channels, experiences, and brands (in contrast with cleaner experiences and brands offered in other industries)
- Patchwork of technologies that each store personal data in silos, without any of it paying dividends in personalization (in contrast with personalization and convenience in other industries)
- Marred and obfuscated discoverability, continuity, and portability of tools and benefits of those toolsListen to our Webinar, “Designing Behavior Change into Digital Solutions.”
Things get worse as more technology is thrown at the problem
Digital health investment continues to produce cutting-edge solutions at a breakneck pace. Those assets will inevitably end up being added to healthcare payer and provider offerings and experiences. Fragmentation continues to proliferate and will not abate anytime soon. Most healthcare payers and providers are ill-equipped to meet this avalanche of solutions while maintaining a wholesome relationship with the consumer.
This just gets worse in the age of the empowered, always-on consumer. Instead of things getting simpler with smarter technology, it often adds complexity, confusion, and frustration with a disconnected system of solutions and benefits.
Gartner’s prediction that silos of customer engagement would be one of the top causes of customer dissatisfaction for enterprises across all industries by 2020 is proving to be true for healthcare.
Fragmented experiences are astonishingly costly
CXOs and CIOs in healthcare often struggle to demonstrate ROI or user-friendly, customer-centric experiences. They are often challenged on the “soft value” of such assets and achievements. In fact, these fragmented experiences explain some of the worst offenders of cost and waste.
A massive study by the Institute of Medicine revealed that the U.S. healthcare system wastes an astonishing $750 billion each year. Forty percent of that waste comes from unnecessary services and inefficient care delivery; a significant part of this waste comes from fragmentation that contributes to duplicative, and sub-optimal delivery of care and consumers’ inability to use care tools that have already been paid for or an inability to use them efficiently.
Healthcare payers and providers need to digitally mature, or risk demise
By now, it is becoming quite clear that the ability to provide personalized and integrated interactions across offerings and tools is a core capability that healthcare payers and providers need to master : to not only succeed, but to survive.
This capability should not be confused with omni-channel marketing. Broad based communications and traditional campaigns simply don’t invoke high value responses. Consumers ignore (or even worse, are annoyed by) out-of-context, poorly timed or inadequately focused campaigns, leading to discarded letters and deleted emails.
In healthcare, validated recommendations, programs, incentives, care alerts, and referral updates are all opportunities for personalized and coordinated interactions that will extend the relationship and improve outcomes. Today’s consumers have heightened expectations driven by the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Uber, and consumers expect all enterprises to deliver highly personalized and relevant messages in the cadence they want and through the channel they choose. To produce a personalized experience, it is essential for healthcare payers and providers to have a deep understanding of their members.
What is that deep understanding? It is not the broad, so-called 360-degree view of the customer that CRM companies and consumer services groups have spent billions building.
For healthcare consumers in particular, the depth of information in areas of need and the context of their healthcare journey, are far more important to help them achieve their goals. That depth comes from information in non-structured data, in device-generated data, and in their digital behavioral patterns. Obviously, that depth varies over time and it is therefore imperative that there be a consistent steward of this data and experience – regardless of how much their benefits and tools evolve. Forrester Research calls this “The Power of Customer Context”.
Listen to our webinar, “Closing the Gap in Member Experience.”
Without the ability to personalize and integrate the member experience at an appropriate scale, using data-driven approaches and machine-learning where appropriate, healthcare payers will be overrun by innovation needs, consumer expectations, and market pressures that will disintermediate them significantly.
Healthcare Ecosystem Engagement Hubs – fulfilling the promise
Engagement Hubs will not come to healthcare as a single technology or process. Engagement Hubs will test the digital maturity of healthcare payers and providers, because they require foundational updates to their understanding of consumer behaviors, consumer data, and the right reference architecture necessary to evolve into truly consumer-centric organizations.
The rewards will be worth the investment to get to that level of digital maturity.
With digital maturity, the right reference architecture, and the Ecosystem Engagement Hub, healthcare payers and providers can maintain the value of their brands and avoid being disintermediated by their competitors and partners alike – while delivering what consumers want most – empowerment, personalization, integration, access, choice, transparency and affordability and what everyone wants most – optimal outcomes at reduced cost.
Looking for a solution that puts your consumers first? Here at Medullan we use our professional services and VARA — a comprehensive digital health platform that can address your specific engagement needs. The VARA platform is the foundation for solutions deployed by leading payers, health services, and pharma companies. Learn more about VARA here. If you’re interested in finding out how we can we can provide a tailored approach to accelerate your solution, contact us.