Healthcare is personal. Patients are sharing private details with relative strangers and engaging in myriad one-to-one interactions with physicians, pharmacists and insurers along their journey through the healthcare landscape.
Despite the intimacy of these situations, however, healthcare consumer experiences are often seen as depersonalized and disconnected—which certainly won’t drive the patient engagement needed to improve health outcomes.
How do we solve the patient engagement dilemma? A recent McKinsey article on its Consumer Health Insights Survey highlights some top-of-mind concerns for modern healthcare consumers that healthcare organizations need to address.
Affordability and its impact on health outcomes
The high cost of healthcare weighs on consumers’ minds. Not only do healthcare consumers have their personal “war stories” when it comes to healthcare affordability, but they also have a steady stream of headlines keeping healthcare costs front and center.
News about the recent 400 percent price hike on an antibiotic or the steadily rising cost of insulin—which spurred the American Medical Association to call for federal action in June—only escalate consumers’ wallet worries when it comes healthcare.
According to McKinsey’s survey analysis, consumers want transparency. When asked what frustrates them most in healthcare, for example, the respondents’ top three answers included:
- Understanding basic medical costs (29 percent)
- Determining whether a treatment is covered by insurance (28 percent)
- Making sense of a healthcare bill (25 percent)
Moreover, 72 percent of the respondents identified concerns about a least one type of healthcare expense, with an increase in concerns over long-term care and end-of-life expenses compared to results from the survey taken in 2009.
Cost concerns are also apparent in how healthcare consumers approach insurance. A second McKinsey study in 2017 found that consumers prioritize low premiums, best value for the price and low out-of-pocket costs when selecting a healthcare plan.
Understanding how affordability concerns influence healthcare consumer perceptions is crucial. And psychographic segmentation, along with consumer insights like those found in the c2b annual Consumer Diagnostic survey, can help.
By classifying healthcare consumers based on their attitudes and motivations, the healthcare industry can improve the quality and effectiveness of communications designed to influence engagement and health outcomes.
For example, a health insurance company could target the Self Achiever segment in c2b’s proprietary psychographic segmentation model by offering savings incentives to plan holders who meet health and wellness goals. Or a healthcare provider could target Priority Jugglers with messaging about reducing potential family healthcare expenses and lost wages by staying on top of preventative care—from vaccinations for the younger family members to flu shots for the adults.
Driving digital adoption in the healthcare industry
While recent years have seen an acceleration of digital adoption in healthcare, the healthcare industry still languishes behind banking, retail, travel and entertainment industries when it comes to delivering the digital experiences that today’s healthcare consumers expect. Among the McKinsey survey respondents, digital tools were in high demand for:
- 68 percent to shop for a health plan
- 73 percent to search for a doctor
- 69 percent to check my health information
- 77 percent to monitor health metrics
- 79 percent to pay my insurance bills
- 71 percent to order prescription drugs or refills
Certainly, patient privacy—and the regulations surrounding it—represents a hurdle that many healthcare providers approach with nervousness, but the highly-regulated banking industry proves that digital engagement and customer data security can be achieved. Besides, healthcare consumers want it.
The best-loved brands—companies like Amazon, Disney and Netflix—are rewarded with higher engagement with consumers. Those companies earn customers’ loyalty by using desirable digital tools and delivering individualized communications to enhance the customer experience. This is another area where psychographic segmentation provides direction. It can help healthcare organizations identify which segments may be more inclined to want digital tools and use them effectively to improve health outcomes.
“The healthcare industry has an opportunity to address the concerns of, and engage with, consumers in a way that is win-win for both consumers and the industry.”
A company like PatientBond can help a healthcare organization amplify its patient engagement efforts through its platform for digital communications. PatientBond uses the proprietary psychographic segmentation model developed by c2b solutions to personalize all communications according to patients’ intrinsic motivations and channel preferences. Segment-specific key words and phrases are used in messages delivered by a mix of emails, text/SMS and automated phone calls following segment-specific workflows.
With this unique capability, PatientBond has achieved such results as:
- 90 percent reduction in 30-day hospital readmissions for Congestive Heart Failure
- 5X increase in screenings for various forms of cancer
- 4X increase in collections of outstanding patient payment balances, despite McKinsey’s findings above.
Psychographic segmentation can move healthcare providers beyond one-size-fits-all communications to highly-relevant marketing, educational materials, and patient engagement programs.
As the McKinsey article notes, “The healthcare industry has an opportunity to address the concerns of, and engage with, consumers in a way that is win-win for both consumers and the industry.” What will it take for your organization to get there?