How care managers can overcome four critical member engagement challenges
October 23, 2023
By Matt Adamson
In the ever-evolving landscape of healthcare, member engagement is a multifaceted, complex undertaking that encompasses fostering a collaborative, seamless relationship between health plan professionals, providers, and members. Technology is instrumental in making this happen, but first we must understand the challenges faced by care managers as part of the member outreach process.
Understanding member engagement and its challenges
When members are engaged in the care process, they are more likely to adhere to treatment plans, make informed decisions, and take proactive steps to manage their health. This leads to better health outcomes, reduced healthcare costs, and improved member satisfaction. However, challenges including behavioral health issues, low health literacy, the impact of social determinants of health (SDOH), and members’ expectations can hinder health outcomes. The good news is there are many strategies both health plans and providers can implement to overcome each of these hurdles:
1) Mental/Behavioral Health Issues
A World Psychiatry article states that “Individuals living with serious mental illness are often difficult to engage in ongoing treatment, and dropout from treatment is all too common.” This highlights how difficult it is to improve clinical health when a patient suffers from health issues such as depression and anxiety. While providing support, resources, and guidance is important, trust is key to effectively engaging these members. Providers and payers can build a foundation of trust through one-on-one communication, conveying empathy, and listening to the patient/member without judgment from the very first interaction.
Establishing trust can be very difficult to do over the phone and nearly impossible using online communication methods. When possible, health plans should coordinate an in-person meeting or video call before trying to establish a digital, self-service connection. From there, regular check-ins and effective care coordination will continue to establish trust that can be leveraged to do more.
2) Low Health Literacy
Health literacy levels vary among members, and complex medical information can be overwhelming for even the most informed patients. Healthcare professionals need to consider these discrepancies and ensure information is communicated in a clear and understandable manner. Content delivery can be tailored to the audience using plain language, visual aids, and interactive tools to improve comprehension and engagement.
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