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Member engagement in the age of AI

Ring Central Blog

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4 min read

Highlights: 


Over the past few decades, healthcare payers have begun to realize the importance of preventive care in lowering healthcare costs. However, patients play an active role in preventing some of their healthcare conditions. For patients to take preventive action, they must be engaged in their own healthcare.

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AI can play a role in member engagement by helping payers identify healthcare recommendations and educational content to send to members to encourage greater engagement. How can payers share that information with members?

The need for member engagement

For years, healthcare payers have tried reaching out to patients to encourage them to play an active role in maintaining their health. Their efforts have had mixed results. While some patients have been more engaged in their personal healthcare journeys, many have not.

It’s a challenging and costly situation for healthcare payers. Until recently, they haven’t had the right mix of tools to effectively engage patients.

How AI can improve member engagement

Companies have been using AI for a number of years to forecast what next actions a customer will take; it’s called predictive analytics. There’s room for predictive analytics in the healthcare space (especially in healthcare insurance).

Predictive analytics can offer vital information to patients about their health conditions and how to avoid future hospitalizations. Here’s an example: when patients go to a specialist and receive a diagnosis, they tend to do web searches about their condition. AI could identify those patients so a representative from the payer would reach out to them with reliable, accurate information.

Analysts at McKinsey see AI and other emerging technologies playing a powerful role in increasing member engagement and improved healthcare outcomes: they estimate digitally-enabled capabilities could reduce medical costs in the United States by as much as $175 billion to $220 billion annually.

Reaching out to patients with healthcare communication tools

Once you’ve implemented a predictive AI solution that recognizes opportunities for member engagement, the next step in the equation is actually engaging with the members. How can payers do that in an effective and affordable manner? 

The answer lies in adopting healthcare communication tools. In the next section, we’ll talk about what the right healthcare communication tools are. 

Unified communications platforms: the right mix of tools to boost member engagement

Unified communications platforms are a set of communication tools in a single platform, including:

With a unified communications platform, you can also share files and screens.

How can unified communications platforms play a role in member engagement? They give you flexible options to reach out to patients. Here’s how:

RingCentral for healthcare

Unified communications platforms offer members the channels they want

Today’s patients are different than their parents’ generation; they have access to new technology and they’re not afraid to use it. For example, over three-quarters of consumers would prefer to pay their health insurance bills through digital channels. 

Engaging patients today must be done through digital channels. Moreover, it must be done through the digital channels of the patients’ choice. Unified communications platforms give payers the option to call, text, or even hold a video conference with patients to provide them with information about maintaining their health. 

Unified communications platforms can automate communications

Let’s say your patient goes to a cardiologist after a test with suspicious results. Your predictive analytics solution tells you that the patient’s visit took place. Instead of a customer service representative calling the patient to pass along information about a heart-healthy diet or exercise, your unified communications platform could send out an automated message through telephony or text.

Automating communications saves time and money. It ensures that the patient gets the information they need, so employees can focus on high-value tasks.

Unified communications platforms can offer self-service

Research from Forrester shows that customers would often rather use a knowledge base than talk to a human being.

Unified communications platforms can offer self-service options to patients to encourage member engagement. We’ll use another example: a patient has a consultation with a dermatologist about a mole. The predictive analytics solution points that out, and the unified communications solution can send the patient a link to resources about the importance of sunscreen.

The patient can look at the link at his leisure. There’s no pressure to examine the resources at that very moment, and he feels better knowing there’s information available that’s tailored to his situation.

Unified communications platforms work 24/7

One of the benefits of unified communications platforms is that they work 24/7. They don’t take vacations or get sick, so you can always rely on them.

That’s important for patient engagement because patients don’t always get sick between the hours of 9 AM to 5 PM. We’ll illustrate with another example: a patient cuts herself while serving dinner and needs stitches. The predictive analytics solution picks up on the hospital visit, even though it’s after-hours at the insurance company.

Regardless of the time, the unified communications platform is still at work. It sends the patient instructions on actions she can take to minimize scarring and keeping the wound clean.

Unified communications platforms are secure for member peace of mind

When you’re a patient receiving information from your insurance company, you don’t want those communications falling into the wrong hands. Health data is highly sensitive; many patients would prefer their conditions remain confidential.

Market-leading communications platforms keep information safe with multiple layers of security. End-to-end encryption ensures no one can access data when it travels over networks or when it’s at rest. Moreover, 24/7 platform monitoring and 99.999% uptime means that members always have access to reliable, secure healthcare communication tools.

Boost member engagement with RingCentral’s healthcare communications platform

RingCentral’s healthcare communications platform offers the right mix of tools to help healthcare payers effectively reach patients through multiple channels, automation, and self-service capabilities. Better healthcare outcomes at a lower cost. Cloud communication systems are transforming healthcare. Find out how.

Originally published Sep 08, 2021, updated Sep 07, 2021

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