3 ACO marketing strategies

As more insurers look for ways to implement accountable care organizations, they must successfully sell the new care model to both physicians and consumers, according to a new white paper from healthcare marketing company, Smith & Jones.

"Transitioning to an ACO calls for a new marketing strategy that focuses on wellness, tailored messaging and solid analytics," notes the white paper. 

Here are three of the five marketing strategies included in the white paper.

1. Market wellness

Since one of the primary goals of ACOs is to keep patients healthy, it's helpful to promote the idea of wellness rather than sickness. Instead of insurers and providers marketing top specialties and cutting-edge technology, for example, they can showcase wellness and preventive measures that encourage patients to take better care of their health. When using wellness as a marketing technique, insurers and providers should focus on preventive health like weight loss strategies and screening tests that catch chronic conditions early, making them less expensive to treat. Insurers also should clearly explain what constitutes preventive care so consumers aren't left footing bills for services they thought were covered, FierceHealthPayer previously reported.

2. Analyze the consumer base

Insurers should take advantage of their claims database to determine which members participating in ACOs have chronic conditions, the type of services they frequent and the location of the services. Not only can such research help tailor marketing efforts to members participating in ACOs and their specific health needs, it also can highlight where spending is excessive. Insurers and providers participating in the ACO can then help steer patients to less expensive facilities and still maintain a high quality of care. 

3. Communicate benefits

Many consumers are unaware of ACOs and their benefits, so it behooves insurers to educate their members about the value they can receive by participating in these care models.

"High-quality, coordinated care isn't something that everyone has access to, and it's definitely a benefit that's worth explaining," according to the white paper. Insurers also should explain that participating members won't see their benefits change and that members can continue seeing any doctor accepting their plan. Further, when educating and reaching out to members, insurers should use simple language without any industry jargon, which is still confusing to most consumers trying to understand the meaning of terms like deductibles, copays and premiums.

To learn more:
- here's the white paper