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Is your health plan communications system really remote-work-ready?

Health plan payer employee sitting at a desk attending a remote conference with a secure communications platform


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  • Remote working is here to stay. Health payers must ensure their communications systems are remote-ready sooner rather than later.
  • Many payers with work-from-anywhere policies are struggling to achieve the desired productivity, quality control, and employee satisfaction levels, primarily due to ineffective employee collaboration and security shortcomings.
  • By ensuring your communications platform is remote-ready, your organization can eliminate data silos and achieve superior collaboration, oversight, and security.

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The pandemic’s onset compelled the entire healthcare sector to find new ways to deliver better service faster. For payers, the challenges that came with quarantine and social distancing measures were exacerbated by an influx of clients inquiring about COVID-19 insurance options. Consequently, organizations not only had to shift from a local-based workforce to a more distributed one but also invest in robust cloud-based communications to serve members with even greater efficiency than they did while in the office.

However, many payers initially considered enhancing their remote working capabilities as temporary measures. Now, with the pandemic stretching into its third year and the Great Resignation further reinforcing the work-from-anywhere trend, payers are feeling the pressure to adopt reliable and secure communications platforms permanently.

Remote working is here to stay. So, if you are one of the many health payers concerned that their remote communications solutions are not meeting collaboration and security requirements, you must make the necessary upgrades as soon as possible.

Here’s a look at the prevailing needs and challenges of health plan providers as they allow more remote work and how you can address them by ensuring your communications system is remote-ready.

Top remote working communications challenges for health plans

Despite the apparent benefits of supporting work-from-anywhere arrangements, most payers are struggling to maintain the desired productivity, quality control, and employee satisfaction levels. The top reasons are ineffective employee collaboration and security shortcomings.

Collaboration challenges

Collaboration is essential in the health insurance industry, where employees are increasingly mobile. Customer-facing staff, underwriters, managers, external consultants, and clients must interact seamlessly to deliver timely, exemplary service.

However, achieving effective collaboration in remote-working setups is easier said than done. Below are three collaboration hurdles in remote working that an integrated remote-ready communications system can address.

1. Response time

In pre-digital days, immediate responses only came from face-to-face or phone conversations. Today, communication channels like instant messages, emails, and online chat platforms have made synchronous communication a lot more attainable.

Although timely communication is a massive benefit of digital interactions, it can quickly become an inescapable source of distraction. For instance, text-based conversations can easily drown staff in notifications all day.

An effective way to deal with the response time dilemma is to establish ground rules for when to use synchronous or asynchronous channels. A communications platform that includes both forms can help you manage usage more efficiently. For example, you can encourage staff to use video and teleconferencing for quick responses and shift to online chat for non-emergency communications.

2. Information durability

Unlike face-to-face and phone conversations, digital channels continuously record interactions. Therefore, employees looking to refer to a previous thread can access it almost anytime, anywhere.

However, a new challenge emerges, where employees get used to leaving essential data and insights in chat and emails assuming they can access it quickly when needed, only to end up scouring through emails and messaging threads.

A proper cloud-based communications platform can help you draw a clear distinction between enduring and fleeting communication. For instance, you can have all attachments shared via emails or chat flow into specific user folders stored in the cloud to make them easily accessible.

3. Fidelity

High-fidelity communication channels like video conferences triumph over low-fidelity options like online chat because they include elements like tone of voice, inflection, volume, pauses, gestures, and facial expressions in a conversation, all of which help encode the right message.

Low-fidelity interaction has the advantage of being more concise, but it can also foster misunderstandings. On the other hand, while high-fidelity communication is more accurate, it is not very durable and often needs a written follow-up.

A communications system that accommodates both high-fidelity and low-fidelity interactions enables remote staff to seamlessly switch to their desired channel, depending on the situation. For instance, employees chatting online can quickly move to video when a misunderstanding ensues.

Health plan payer employee sitting at a desk while working remotely and attending a video conference with a secure communications platform

Security challenges

Payers handle sensitive information. So, the risk of remote workers unintentionally endangering company data and networks cannot be overstated. Unsecured wireless networks and unattended computers are just some of the adverse impacts payers must watch out for in a world where workers and devices are not in the same geographical location. Add in remote employees with low technical skills, and it becomes a combination that can expose your company to costly cyber-attacks.

Here are five security challenges in remote working that your work-from-anywhere communications system must address to be deemed remote-ready.

1. GDPR compliance

The General Data Protection Regulation calls for companies to safeguard personal information and minimize data breaches by using appropriate security measures. Many payers find managing GDPR compliance challenging for remote workers. Nevertheless, a communications platform that supports high-level security and privacy standards can help meet this requirement and keep liability at bay.

2. Phishing emails

Research indicates that more than 60 percent of organizations experience a successful phishing attack, and more than 30 percent of those incidents result in a malware infection. Therefore, continuous training is essential to reinforce vigilance among employees. You can also consider a communications platform that allows you to restrict interactions to external online chat solutions like Zoom or Microsoft Teams while granting email access to specific employees.

3. Weak passwords

Employees are typically the most significant security risk to corporate networks, and one of the reasons is poor password management. Documented policies can help create a sense of responsibility with remote employees while adding a lock screen feature triggered after a time delay can minimize the chances of malicious access.

4. Unsecured personal devices

Employees working remotely often use personal devices to access corporate networks. While company devices may have VPNs and firewalls, most personal gadgets are unsecured. A robust IT infrastructure can immediately block any device that does not meet security standards, safeguarding the entire network.

5. Unencrypted file sharing

Health plan providers may have encryption policies for internal data, but they may not consider encrypting data while in transit between systems. Sending sensitive information over the internet without protecting it exposes the company to substantial legal and financial risks.

Fortunately, top-range cloud-based communications platforms provide end-to-end encryption, guaranteeing secure transmission. The largest payers, including United Healthcare, BCBS, and Aetna, implement communications solutions from HITRUST CSF-certified vendors and benefit from the security standards, risk management, and threat intelligence solutions that come with them.

UP NEXT: What an omnichannel payer organization looks like in practice

Get your communications systems remote-ready with RingCentral MVP

Although technology plays a critical role in facilitating communication and remote work, 54 percent of companies indicate poor IT infrastructure as the top barrier to effective remote working.

“The first lesson learned from the coronavirus situation is to accelerate the development of technologies that can support alternative ways of working.”

—Aaron McEwan, Vice President at Gartner

By ensuring your communications platform is remote-ready, your firm can eliminate data silos and achieve superior collaboration, oversight, and security.

RingCentral’s MVP platform was designed with the needs of health plans in mind: facilitating work-from-anywhere operations with the highest levels of collaboration and security. With RingCentral MVP, you can unify messaging and voice systems to seamlessly share information and reduce cost and complexity.

Moreover, because RingCentral is HITRUST CSF certified, you can rest assured your remote workers are utilizing a hyper-secure platform that is fully compliant with industry standards.

Ready to implement a remote-ready communications system? Request a demo of RingCentral MVP today and see how the platform can make your remote workforce a success.

Originally published Mar 15, 2022

Work together from anywhere with messaging, video conferencing, and phone calls—all in a single platform.

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