In the post-healthcare reform era, payers must take measures to reach and engage their consumers, according to a new white paper from IDC Health Insights.
Payers are shifting to a more consumer-centric mindset, given research shows almost all large companies will shift from employer-based health coverage to plans sold on the federal marketplace by 2020.
Many payer organizations are adopting information technology applications to better serve their population. In 2013, more than 60 percent of health plans included in the IDC white paper planned to create a mobile healthcare application, while close to 30 percent planned to create interactive healthcare games.
Mobile applications are on the rise, so payers need to deliver their information through this platform, rather than calling consumers or emailing them. Relaying pertinent information through mobile tech will allow insurers to reach consumers faster, considering three-fifths of privately insured adults used a smartphone within the past year, according to the white paper.
Retail initiatives also can boost healthcare consumer engagement, notes the white paper. Payers must recognize the different methods of forming relationships with their consumers--marketplaces, group purchasing, direct sales. Through direct outreach, payers can connect with patients regarding their health status, access to certain technology and health literacy.
Promoting wellness incentives and programs will not only engage consumers, but lead to better health outcomes as well. Payers can use a wellness platform approach to improve health management by, for example, providing health itineraries that inform consumers of health activities, preventative services and location-based guidance.
What's more, technology can make wellness programs more engaging and interesting for employees, especially the millennial generation. "Programs that use social media and gamification are particularly appealing," Bryce Williams, director of Wellvolution for Blue Shield of California, previously told FierceHealthPayer in an interview.
- here's the IDC announcement