One of the greatest challenges facing health plans is developing a strategic plan to foster member engagement. Specifically, health plan executives must strive to engage members in ways that give those individuals the feeling that the health plan has a genuine interest in their health and wellness.
Examples include health screening activities, participation in medical fairs, home visits, and proactive prevention of lapses in care. By creating strategies to foster member engagement, health plans control costs while raising member satisfaction.
Below are four key ways for health plans to engage their members.
Develop and Implement Early Intervention Screening Activities
Early intervention screening activities engage members by surveying or testing at-risk individuals for the presence of physical or mental health problems. Examples of early intervention screening activities are as follows:
Screen new mothers for the presence of post-partum depression
Initiate a program to screen at risk members over 65 for osteoporosis
Screen diabetic members for diabetic retinopathy
Screening procedures can be conducted by specialists affiliated with a health plan or through a network health care provider. In some cases, members complete and return a brief written screening tool mailed to them by their health plan. If a member screens positive for a disorder, he or she receives a phone call from a health plan representative who arranges a course of treatment for the member. The goal of this member engagement strategy is to treat disorders in their early stages before they worsen and require more extensive treatment.
Participate in Medical Fairs and Health Expositions
Medical fairs and health expos provide excellent venues for health plan representatives to engage members. The atmosphere at medical fairs and expos is typically festive and non-threatening. Medical fairs offer a great environment to conduct free screenings, host giveaways and provide flu shots. Members can ask questions and health plan representatives can help members increase their level of comfort with healthcare delivery.
Proactively Reach Out to Members about Lapses in Care
Sometimes it is not enough to engage members by implementing an early intervention screening program. Many members are reluctant to participate in aftercare services or follow up appointments. After a screening program identifies a member as a candidate for healthcare services, the health plan should engage the member by reminding him or her about medications, follow-up treatment, and visits with their primary care doctor. Below are some ways that health plans can continue to engage members to prevent lapses in care:
Carefully review the key points of a member’s treatment plan
Follow-up appointment reminders by text and email
Reminder phone calls by health plan staff or a trusted partner
By helping members maintain continuity of care, health plan representatives help maintain a high level of engagement among members.
Schedule Home Visits for High Risk Members
Engaging high risk members is critical for health plans. Unfortunately, high risk members are often the most resistant to scheduling and keeping appointments with their primary care doctors. Health plan representatives can engage high risk members by sending a nurse or physician to visit high risk members in their homes and providing health risk assessments. Long-term savings typically outweigh the initial expense.
Why Bolstering Member Engagement is Beneficial to Health Plans
When properly initiated, strategies such as early intervention screening programs, home visits, and outreach activities produce a multitude of positive effects for members and health plans. As the health of members improves, the health plan enjoys long-term savings. Member satisfaction also increases, leading to improvements in health plan quality scores. Please contact us if you would like to learn more about fostering member engagement. We look forward to receiving your inquiry.