Healthcare Consumerism III: Reconsidering and Redefining Engagement

Posted by Austin Ridgeway

For payers and providers, there’s been a consumerism learning curve. These stakeholders are playing catch-up with the retail and financial services companies that are today providing personalized recommendations and interactions that seem to read consumers’ minds. As a paradigm shift occurs within the healthcare landscape, our clients are emphasizing new and nontraditional areas, like mobile applications, multichannel engagement strategies, and outcome-based business models.

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Today member satisfaction is front and center as plan administrators take a customer-centric approach, helping to build member trust and loyalty. According to an IntelliResponse-commissioned survey, cited in an article that quoted my colleague Anand Natampalli, expectations are elevated in areas of accuracy and excellence in customer service. The survey found that “health insurance is far and away the industry where Americans expect the highest level of customer service accuracy.” In fact, 54% of respondents selected health insurance as the industry in which accuracy is most critical.

IntelliResponse recommends, per the survey, three specific actions to health insurers:

  • Going omnichannel
  • Predicting consumer needs
  • Providing a seamless escalation when required

Payers are looking to other industries for customer loyalty and digital engagement strategies. There is need for more touchpoints with members and work to build affinity whenever a touchpoint occurs, from enrollment and onboarding, to appointment reminders. With a single view of customer experience, these insurers will be prepared to build customer-for-life relationships.

Providers are also adopting a more consumer-focused approach. A recent analysis by PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI) compared the experiences and attitudes of consumers in the banking, hotel, airline and retail sectors to those of consumers in the healthcare industry. Interestingly, healthcare consumers showed differences in several important areas, including being less likely to report positive experiences when they occur. These consumers are not as forgiving of providers with whom they have had a negative experience. Six out of ten negative experiences are more apt to be remembered for longer in the provider industry compared to other industries.

The evolving areas of focus for stakeholders include growth/retention, operating efficiencies, enrollment services, and member or patient engagement. Getting consumerism right, for these stakeholders, is increasingly translating to BPO support. According to a Black Book Market Research survey of BPO vendors, accountable care will experience a 22 percent year-over-year increase in outsourcing services. Among the survey findings, 87 percent of health plan managers counted software-as-a-service and health information exchange as high priorities.

As customer care experts, HGS understands the engagement solutions to meet today’s required mindset. We can help our customers shift from a transactional approach to a meaningful educational interaction or shared decision activity.To better understand HGS and our healthcare capabilities, take a look at our newly redesigned website. Here we’re proud to showcase more comprehensive detail on the HGS insights, innovation, and solutions that helps our payer and provider clients answer to today’s consumerism demand.

For more information on how we can help, contact me at