Social media should be part of insurers' DNA

One of the best ways payers can drive down healthcare costs and keep the population healthy is to use online and mobile platforms that borrow tactics from social media and gaming, reported FierceHealthIT. Social media and other platforms must be part of an organization's DNA to succeed, said Bryce Willians, director of health and wellness at Blue Shield of California. Speaking on a panel about social engagement during AHIP Institute 2012 in Salt Lake City, Williams said Blue Shield's use of social media and other tactics has resulted in engagement rates of about 80 to 90 percent, with about 60 percent of participants completing various wellness challenges daily. What's more, one in five participated in wellness programs in 2008, and that figure rose to four in five in 2011.

Although return on investment can be difficult to measure, Blue Shield has run the numbers several different ways and estimates an average annual cost saving of $4.7 million--a three-to-one ROI. To read about the 10 pieces of advice Williams has for payers to engage their members through social media platforms, check out the FierceHealthIT article.