Exceptional Patient Engagement Strategies Start With Today’s CX Trends

May 15, 2019

If you were to list out today's biggest customer experience trends, you would see how much they coincide with current patient engagement strategies in healthcare.

Consumers today look for personalization, convenience and ease of use. And they'll go out of their way to get the best experience. In fact, 80% of consumers say they're more likely to do business with a company that offers a personalized experience, and 64% would be willing to pay more for a simpler experience.

In the healthcare industry, higher patient engagement is tied to better outcomes and lower costs, so why not look at what's working in customer experience to improve patient engagement?

Here, we discuss four prominent trends in customer experience and how innovators in healthcare are applying them to their patient engagement strategies to see great results.

Trend No. 1: Better Patient Engagement Begins With Better Onboarding

Everyone knows that you only get one shot at a first impression, and for healthcare companies, that first impression is a crucial opportunity to directly influence patient understanding and outcomes throughout their health and wellness journey.

With an astounding 76% of health insurance customers who say they don’t understand their benefits, and only 12% of customers who say they know where to turn to for care, there’s still a long way to go to create simplicity and transparency in healthcare.

Companies striving to increase healthcare literacy need look no further than onboarding, where patient engagement is at its highest. This is the best time to educate on benefits and direct consumers to next steps -- but most importantly, it’s the time to set a new standard for engagement and move consumers to digital-first, mobile connections.

Healthcare companies that have optimized their onboarding process with Relay see a 175% increase in likelihood to review information, a 130% increase in portal and app registrations and a 45% increase in customer satisfaction.

Trend No. 2: Personalizing Patient Communications With Existing and Historical Data

Today’s consumer expectations are shaped by companies like Netflix and Amazon, who deliver hyper-personal experiences that make us feel known. That expectation has inevitably seeped into every interaction a customer has with the businesses in their lives, including with their healthcare providers. Patient engagement strategies that are one-size-fits-all, lack individualized content, and rely too heavily on self-service will fall flat and lead to low customer satisfaction and engagement.

What most healthcare companies don't know is that providing this type of personalization doesn't require a massive IT overhaul or data lift. Using the basic patient data they have readily available in tandem with technology like Relay, healthcare companies have the opportunity to join the ranks of Netflix and serve up personalized, engaging experiences to their customers.

US Specialty, WellDyneRx’s specialty pharmacy, is leveraging Relay to personalize the entire patient healthcare journey. From disease management to refill reminders, US Specialty is able to use patient data they already have, like current prescribed medications, refill date and home address, to send timely, relevant messages on Relay’s secure, HIPAA-compliant platform. In just one week, guided refill experiences sent via Relay produced a 60% engagement rate. And this was not only a win for US Specialty. In a survey given to US Specialty patients after receiving these messages, a staggering 95% reported being satisfied with the ease of use with 85% of those responded with "Very Satisfied" or "Extremely Satisfied."

Trend No. 3: Build Engagement Strategies for All Customers, Not Just Your Most "At Risk"

Historically, healthcare companies have placed a heavy focus on the 20% or so of their most “at risk” patient population with chronic or serious medical conditions who require more expensive, frequent care. While it’s true that population costs more to cover, seemingly healthy groups of members can drive up preventable costs in areas like prescription drug spend and ER visits.

Noticing this trend, one healthcare insurer came up with a hypothesis: If they could find a way to engage 100% of their member population with content that was relevant to each individual, not just those considered “at risk,” they would be able to control costs, improve outcomes and address member needs before they reached a critical state.

To test their hypothesis, the insurer is using Relay’s mobile messaging platform to deliver individualized patient engagement strategies designed to address each member’s unique needs. For example, for “healthier” members, they send tools to help locate nearby primary care providers or reminders for annual wellness checkups, and for members with chronic conditions, they send messages to help with medication adherence and gaps in care.

The health insurer proved that establishing an easy, convenient channel for members up front makes it easier to engage them at pivotal points down the road. The company saw a 45% increase in contact rates with health coaches, an 11% increase in compliance with necessary tests and screenings, and also drove a 20% increase in members choosing more cost-effective generic prescriptions over brand name.

Trend No. 4: Simplify and Streamline Inefficient Processes with Proactive Outreach

Remember when Apple coined the slogan, “There’s an app for that”? In their brilliantly simple marketing speak, they were implying that the iPhone had unlimited capabilities and could help you do just about anything with your phone. This was back in 2009, but the idea that technology can make everyday processes simpler and more streamlined still rings true. One of the most obvious, yet most effective, trends in healthcare right now is using technology to simply make everyday customer moments easier and more efficient.

Healthcare companies have already identified key customer moments that have a lot of friction today -- they are felt in the form of high inbound call volume, customer frustration or operational inefficiencies. These moments are perfect areas that can be improved with proactive outreach.

For example, a large Pittsburgh-based health insurer uses our customer engagement platform to guide their members through the prior authorization process. They keep members informed about when authorizations are submitted, pending and approved so that members don’t have to call in and request updates, clogging up call centers.

It’s not that that status information wasn’t readily available before, it’s that the healthcare companies didn’t have an easy, secure way to keep their members informed and engaged in the process.

Not only does this new process alleviate friction for the members, this also helps the health insurer reduce costly inbound and outbound call volume. These prior authorization messages via Relay saw a 46% engagement rate -- 3 times more effective than traditional communication channels.

Turning Trends Into Patient Engagement Best Practices

You don't need to reinvent the wheel to develop effective patient engagement strategies. Simply take a lesson out of today's customer experience playbook and build best practices based on how people are interacting with other businesses in their lives and the types of communication they're responding best to. And leveraging a mobile engagement solution like Relay to deploy these best practices on a direct, personalized channel will ensure that your strategies yield great results.

Interested in discussing how your patient engagement strategies could be amplified with Relay? Request a demo, we'd love to talk to you.