As noted in the previous section, the lines are blurring between current and future states of consumer engagement via mobile technology and social media. The differences are primarily the degree of widespread availability and consumer usage of mobile tools and provider implementation and utilization of these mobile engagement tools. There will, however, be a significant shift in how providers engage consumers throughout the System of Engagement. That shift will be driven by 1) changes in the healthcare delivery model, with the transition from fee-for-service to new integrated, accountable care systems; 2) increasing consumer empowerment and choice, driving healthcare selfmanagement; 3) regulatory requirements around Meaningful Use and patient outcomes; and 4) continuing and increasing need to lower the overall cost of healthcare.
Key Drivers of Changing Consumer Engagement
Mobile technology and social media will enable consumer engagement in this new landscape. They will meet consumer need for more empowerment, convenience, and control and will support provider clinical and financial goals.
Enabling Consumer Empowerment
Smart mobile devices for everyday needs will become the norm, empowering people with the actionable decision support, convenience, and control they desire. With regard to managing healthcare, mobile technology will empower consumers to take a more proactive approach in assessing their symptoms and selecting providers, accessing healthcare systems, and connecting with care providers for ongoing care management.
Supporting Accountable Care, Regulatory Compliance, and Cost Reduction
Many providers will move from a fee-for-service model to an ACO system that will hold them accountable for patient outcomes throughout the care continuum. In addition, in order to lower the cost of care, many health systems will become plan sponsors as well. As such, consumer engagement will be about influencing consumer choice to drive patient acquisition, steerage, network retention, care coordination, and healthcare cost reduction.
Because consumers will still be empowered to choose their care providers, there will be no guarantee that they will stay in a single network for all their care needs. Mobile technology will help providers engage consumers at every provider selection point and influence their decision to enter and stay within a network. Once that consumer is acquired and retained, providers will then be able to truly engage that person as a patient and transition to patient engagement. Mobile technology will also help providers improve patient engagement, including providing access to medical information, communicating with care team members, and facilitating care coordination.
To summarize, providers will be able to leverage mobile technology to engage consumers that will not only drive consumer and patient satisfaction, but also support the health system’s financial and clinical goals. For providers, mobile technology will:
- Provide consumer decision support (helping them find the most cost-effective care);
- Influence consumer choice;
- Steer to lower cost in-network providers;
- Provide access to the health system and connection to providers;
- Retain ‘patients’ in the health system or network; and
- Support ongoing health management engagement.