Communicating to a 65+ Patient Population
A recent survey revealed some of the challenges payers (and providers) face when trying to reach a 65+ audience. The survey, conducted by HealthMine, found that 57% of Medicare health plan members aged 65+ said they were unsure if their health plan offered telemedicine. The findings underscore the challenges with engaging seniors in mobile health technology: specifically, that the technology will only benefit seniors if they know it’s available.
Part of the challenge is that seniors are generally more comfortable with traditional methods for receiving communications regarding their health care. For example, the survey found that 20% of seniors still prefer to communicate with their health plan by postal mail, while almost 50% favor a phone call. Only 31% of seniors prefer to communicate through digital communication.
To address these challenges, providers need to increase the scope and occurrence of their messages informing patients of available digital health services. According to Bryce Williams, president and CEO of HealthMine, “We have learned that it is imperative to over deliver in communications to Medicare members. Today, health plans have the data to connect with meaningful, timely help and reminders to members—and learn members’ communication preferences.”
Williams also stressed the importance of a centralized call center when reaching out to a 65+ audience.
Prior to being CEO of HealthMine, Williams was president and CEO of the nation’s largest private Medicare exchange. “In running the exchange, we learned every aspect of communicating with seniors, including building and operating the most robust, fully digitized call centers.”
When looking at population health, providers often look for digital health options to engage their patients because of the economical benefit. However, the survey by HealthMine reveals that these initiatives often need to be promoted and supported through a centralized call center to achieve reach and adoption.