More than a decade ago, The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) reported that “Health is influenced by factors in five domains — genetics, social circumstances, environmental exposures, behavioral patterns and healthcare.” In the ensuing years, the adoption of technology, shift from volume- to value-based care, and rise of healthcare consumerism have begun to transform healthcare in America.
Despite the influence of electronic health records (EHRs), growing cost pressures, and consumers with more ‘skin in the game,’ improving health outcomes remains elusive. Why? Because, according to NJEM, healthcare only accounts for 10 percent of poor health outcomes, whereas patients’ behavioral patterns and social circumstances account for 55 percent.
How to Take Patient Engagement to the Next Level
Positive health outcomes demand high levels of patient engagement — and not just when patients have a problem. Disease prevention and wellness management demand engagement, too.
Unfortunately, most healthcare organizations aren’t connecting with consumers to that degree. What steps can they take, without overextending their budget?
Step 1: Focus on well-informed diagnoses
“Every successful treatment, and path to a positive patient outcome, begins with a correct and timely diagnosis,” writes HealthManagement.org. One in 20 patients in the United States — approximately 12 million — are affected by diagnostic errors every year. To say these inaccuracies impact patient engagement and health outcomes would be an understatement.
Preventing diagnostic errors requires a multi-prong approach. Healthcare providers must address the issues that contribute to mistaken diagnoses — staff shortages and the resulting overwork or inaccurate information in EHRs, for example.
By reducing diagnostic errors, healthcare organizations also reduce the likelihood of patients experiencing the negative impacts of unnecessary treatments, worsening of the true condition, increased readmissions and costly malpractice suits.
Step 2: Use psychographic segmentation to understand healthcare consumers better
Healthcare often relies on numbers to direct care plans. Sometimes it’s age: “You’re due for your shot, a colonoscopy or a breast exam.” Sometimes it’s a diagnosis: “You need to get your A1C, cholesterol or blood pressure number down.” Even zip codes may play a role.
But healthcare consumers bring more to the table than numbers; they also bring different attitudes, motivations and values to their healthcare experiences. “As empowered consumers, patients respond to the options that reflect their personal needs,” notes Harvard Business Review.
The psychographic segmentation model developed by c2b solutions identifies five distinct segments: Self Achievers, Balance Seekers, Priority Jugglers, Direction Takers and Willful Endurers. By understanding the priorities, lifestyles and communication preferences that influence each segment’s experiences, healthcare providers can align care plans to better address those behavioral patterns and social circumstances that hold such strong sway over health outcomes.
Step 3: Focus on patient engagement along the entire care continuum
Knowing how patients approach their healthcare experience is just the first step toward improving patient engagement.
Healthcare providers also need to meet those patients wherever they are in their health and wellness journey. An automated patient engagement solution like PatientBond, which leverages c2b’s proprietary psychographic segmentation model, allows hospitals to easily personalize a wide range of communications — from marketing campaigns to attract new patients and keep them coming back to closing preventive care gaps and ensuring a more seamless experience before, during and after a hospitalization.
Highly-relevant communications, sent automatically via patients’ preferred channels, allow healthcare organizations to effectively influence positive health outcomes while achieving an equally positive ROI from more efficient use of resources. For example, using this system enabled one healthcare organization to boost response rates for breast and cervical cancer screenings by 500 percent. Imagine the potential health outcome benefits from early detection.
Any consumer brand will tell you that their customers are a fickle lot, and that’s when they are shopping for things they really want — like cars, electronics or vacations. Price shopping for insurance, a healthcare provider or a surgical procedure doesn’t hold the same appeal.
Overcoming the barriers to better health outcomes may be a challenging mission, but it’s not insurmountable. Are you ready to take the steps down the path to better health outcomes for your patients?
For more on psychographic segmentation, its cost-effectiveness and its impact on health outcomes, download our whitepaper.