How to Tame Communication Chaos with Tech

By Kathleen Ellmore

Psychologists state that “humans flee from chaos and disorder.” Since the Affordable Care Act has transformed healthcare into a consumer market, many plans are struggling with how to engage members in a meaningful way that builds trust and creates a positive experience. Frequently the end result is the chaos and disorder that causes humans – or your consumers – to flee.

And who can blame consumers? They often receive information from their care providers at the same time they’re receiving messages on wellness, billing, claims, satisfaction and more. It makes the task of navigating a confusing healthcare system even more difficult, and can result in information overload and a poor member experience. Even with the best of intentions, health plans may find themselves unintentionally alienating their members, increasing their own administrative costs, and, in some cases, deterring their members from receiving care.

When we look at other industries, we find that the common denominator in solving these types of issues is technology. Banking, retail, airlines, and other consumer-centered industries have leveraged technology to manage diverse and high volume consumer interactions that are now coming in through a myriad of channels including integrated websites, text messaging, and call centers.

It's time for health plans to adopt a similar approach to compete in this evolving and increasingly consumer-centric market. Here are some ways plans can leverage technology to tame the complexity and chaos of member communications:

  • Consolidate outreach data across departments to identify members who are literally receiving dozens of communications and use technology to strategically streamline those communications, ensuring a member doesn’t receive a claim rejection the same day they get a member satisfaction survey.
  • Coordinate and prioritize digital communications and nurse coach interactions to achieve the greatest clinical impact. One plan used technology to scale a post-hospital discharge outreach program to all their members instead of just the members identified as "at risk" by their predictive model. They discovered that 50% of the members identified with a readmission risk factor during the outreach would have been missed by their predictive model and were able to reduce readmissions by 15%.
  • Collect and leverage preferred communication channels. Consumers have come to expect digital experiences, and switching your communications to lower-cost digital channels like SMS text messaging and email can result in a savings of 25% per member and an improvement in member satisfaction.

At Silverlink, a Welltok company, we partner with innovative health plans on some game-changing initiatives that have improved their standing with consumers significantly. They have embraced a highly targeted and impactful communications strategy as a way to achieve the ultimate goal of consumer trust and a positive, cohesive member experience.

As Jeff Goldblum’s character eloquently states in the movie Jurassic Park, “Chaos theory is the science of the unpredictable, the idea that small changes can have a big impact on the outcome”. Even reducing the chaos slightly can have a significant impact on member trust and experience.

With competitive pressure forcing more efficient operations and differentiated levels of service, technology can play an important role in improving satisfaction and reducing costs. Learn how technology can help you solve the consumer communication challenge and deliver a more intentional, positive member experience in this short research brief from Silverlink, the newest member of the Welltok family.