Engagement – Recognizing Your Patients’ and Your Members’ Behavior
Across the healthcare industry “engagement” has become a hot topic. Whether pharmaceutical or insurance or a hospital, all are examining ways to have a keener insight into the behavior, preferences and trends of those with whom they are working and across their ecosystem.
Much of this discussion centers on keeping close track of preferences in order to develop a stronger business relationship. All organizations are looking to establish stronger “brand loyalty” in this age of hyper-competitiveness. Life Science companies recognize that there is significant revenue lost with the low rate of prescription fulfillment and even poorer adherence. Along with trying to defend against those losses they also look for the advantage a strong brand can deliver by creating preference across their portfolio. Health Insurance organizations, historically using data to compete for members, now also strive to identify health trends in order to provide the opportunity for earlier and much less costly intervention. And Providers, especially with increased consolidation, recognize competition for market share begins with brand loyalty and see the opportunity to create allegiance through deeper engagement. Even without the incentives that an ACO might provide, they look for ways to lower costs by providing care paths focused on “wellness” and see that in competitive markets they must find new ways to serve those populations.
This is driving these organizations to develop deeper insights on an individual and population basis. Core to this is the need to capture and aggregate data from a variety of sources and systems. This foundational element is critical to achieve the goals of truly “engaging” with their targets.
As I recently wrote in an article, “Can CRM Make You Healthier?” there is precedence for this approach. In fact, each one of us has already, whether intentionally or unknowingly, deeply “engaged” across a wide spectrum of enterprises and are sharing our behavior in order for them to do a better job of coaxing us to modify that “behavior”. While we can envision companies like Apple tracking our app use and suggesting or even preconfiguring apps on a new purchase based on those observed preferences, your local supermarket can also track buying patterns in order to offer you discounts or try a related product – or offer competitive products the opportunity to offer you coupons to switch brands. The goal of this data capture and use is all about finding ways to influence your behavior – try, buy, buy more.
From a healthcare perspective, while organizations within the industry have the similar goal of attracting more “customers”, there is also the new goal of using the same fundamental technology stack to motivate behavior change – to guide us to make better health choices, to adhere to therapies and prescriptions, to avoid “bad behavior”, and to adjust lifestyles to advance our “wellness”.
As with marketing tools, a first step is to develop a master data strategy and governance policy. What systems are available and what data can be aggregated. How will that data be kept both current and secure, but very importantly accessible to applications that will need it to react and provide insight and influence when needed. If marketing can do it, healthcare can too. Yes there are certainly many challenges and risks that a standard marketing application may not have, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t get started.
There is consensus that patient-centric care requires that we know our patients better. And in knowing them, gain insight that we can use to help them manage conditions – whether chronic or recovering from an acute episode – so that they can maximize their quality of life. Engagement is the critical strategy to achieve this, and building a foundation on secure, reliable and meaningful data is the starting point.