When developing a consumer engagement strategy today, a major trend for physicians is the use of video to engage and empower patients.
Meghan Nechrebecki, founder and CEO of Health Care Transformation, a healthcare consulting firm partnering with health systems to improve their consumer engagement, says by curating information that would either be redundant, poor quality, or not happening at all, videos give consumers a visual-auditory learning tool that will help them achieve better outcomes.
“Health care will look drastically different in the future. Most care will be provided asynchronously, which means the information will be conveyed at one time and the consumer will receive it at another time,” she says. “Therefore, video is incredibly important. Every other industry is already using video and it’s very important that health systems incorporate video into their strategy to support and engage consumers.”
Right now, she explains, much of the information that a doctor relays to a patient is conveyed verbally or on paper and often does not fulfill the needs of the patients.
“This often ends up rearing its ugly head appearing as patient noncompliance, which in fact was simply miscommunication, with poorer health outcomes that are much more costly,” Nechrebecki says. “Video allows for audio-visual learning that is much more effective at helping consumers retain the information.”
One of the best ways to use video is in a targeted, yet comprehensive approach by having a specific audience with a specific goal. For example, a goal of reducing elevated Hba1c’s in diabetics or improved patient reported outcomes for post-surgical patients or reduction in weight in obese patients or improvement in PHQ-9 scores for individuals with depression.
“Then it should be comprehensive in the notion that you are pulling top healthcare expertise across the topic and relaying it to the consumer in a concise, engaging way along with tools to support them,” Nechrebecki says. “Analytics and surveys should be used to assess impact and reiterations done to improve impact.”
There is also an opportunity to convey information in a multi-lingual fashion so individuals receive information they otherwise could not have received from an English-speaking clinician or staff.
“Marketing/communication campaigns along with operational support is incredibly important in order to ensure the videos get into the hands of the right consumers,” Nechrebecki says. “If the video is never seen, it cannot have impact.”
A Switch to Consumer Engagement
There are many additional tools coming into the space that will improve patient engagement as well, such as patient scheduling tools, telehealth, and patient portals, all aimed at improving the patient experience along with patient outcomes.
This all plays into what Nechrebecki sees as a switch from patient engagement to consumer engagement, explaining the switch has occurred as health systems have progressed towards three main ideas:
- Healthcare providers are constantly working to increase their market share both in the past fee-for-service world which was volume-based in addition to the future value-based care where larger populations allow for better risk pools.
- The overall idea of consumer centricity in every other market is one of serving the customer’s needs first and foremost. Healthcare, she feels, is behind other industries because it is managing the health systems needs vs the health insurance carrier requirements vs. government regulations vs. provider needs and typically the patient has fallen last.
- Given the move towards value-based care, providers are finally more incentivized to focus on prevention, which means keeping people physically and mentally healthy in the first place.
“To develop an effective consumer engagement strategy, I highly recommend following the processes of service design,” she says. “The organization must start by developing a vision and strategy of who they are, which customer they serve, and how they are different from every other provider.”
This all must be done from the consumer standpoint. They must then do a current state assessment and mapping of current resources to understand where they have resources that are performing vs. underperforming and where there are gaps from a consumer engagement standpoint.
“They must then develop an operational strategy including leadership ownership, goals, metrics, and accountability,” Nechrebecki says. “This will often be an opportunity to better understand what new technologies are available, what will be built in-house vs. outsourced, and develop budgets accordingly.”