More and Better: Takeaways from 2019’s AHIP Consumer Experience Show

At last week’s AHIP Consumer Experience & Digital Health Forum, the ongoing challenge of delivering better health care experiences was front and center. Despite the bitter cold of (almost) winter in Chicago, health plan leaders gathered to share and learn ways to improve outcomes, contain costs and streamline processes for their members. In fact, the biggest takeaway from the conference was the collective determination to drive meaningful change in consumer experience for both health plans and their partners. Although no single organization has cracked the code to perfect member experience, the good news is that, as an industry, we continue to make progress in delivering better experiences for people in health care.

Here are a few of the best highlights from this year’s conference.

Trust fuels consumer engagement

Accenture revealed their recent analysis of consumer trust of health care payers at the event. Low consumer trust in health care isn’t a news (we’ve actually covered this rich topic before). However, new insights related to consumer use of health care and the impact of trust came from their analysis. Accenture identified three groups using a scale similar to an NPS score: distrusters, neutrals and trusters.

Trust is emerging as the foundation for other key consumer measures, including loyalty/retention and engagement. For example, trusters are five times more likely to use digital tools than neutrals. Marketers know that providing the right information in the right touchpoints is critical to successful engagement. The Accenture analysis further demonstrates that plans need to be a resource for their members through their entire consumer journey.

Use data, process and technology to improve satisfaction

It is easy to say we need to deliver the right information in the right places and at the right times, but that can be challenging to execute. Why? You need the right data to know what to say and to whom. You also need the processes in place to optimize the experience and the right technology to deliver it. A number of sessions addressed the data, process and technology elements organizations are using to successfully communicate with members. For example, one session had representatives from Welldoc and Vida Health sharing insights about the core elements of their strategies to drive better outcomes in health management. Anand Iyer, Chief Strategy Officer of Welldoc, talked about the importance of data quality—and addressing the ongoing challenge of garbage data. While many CX experts know the challenge of having something as simple as up-to-date contact information to reach out proactively to members, and the stakes are higher for the quality of data in health management. Making it easy and intuitive for patients with chronic health issues to share their own data, such as the meds they are taking or their diet, is critical to ensuring care teams can support their health needs. Welldoc shared how they use technology integrations and integrated workflows to help support better data collection from members/patients. The real challenge is effective member engagement through digital experience. Welldoc’s goal is to emulate the empathy of a human in a digital experience—and it is paying off in terms of health outcomes.

How to avoid overload and delight members within a fragmented health care experience

While health plans already have plenty to communicate to members about, they aren’t the only ones reaching those members. Vendors from telehealth, chronic care and more are also contacting members on a regular basis. Because of all this health care information flowing to patients, health plans need to focus on continuing to provide the right information at the right time to ensure relevancy, while also reducing overload on people interacting with health care. It isn’t always enough to communicate, delivering the best experiences to consumers—and building trust—is often about anticipating needs. In different sessions, representatives from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana (BSBCLA) and CareFirst talked about their unique approaches to staying a step ahead of their members’ needs. BCBSLA is using machine learning to anticipate member complaints and proactively reach out to members in a high touch way, through calls. CareFirst has prioritized desired member tasks based on member personas. When a member logs into the portal, or calls customer service, CareFirst is suggesting a next-best action to the member to deepen their relationship with the member while moving them toward valuable goals. These approaches are helping drive more satisfaction for members and helping both of these plans realize meaningful results from their technology investments.

Our industry continues to make progress in consumer experience by delivering more for consumers interacting with health care. Based on the great insights and results shared at this year’s conference, next year may prove to be a major inflection point for consumer experience in health care.