Never before has engaging patients been so critical to the growth and sustainability of healthcare providers and organizations. Whether the goal of patient engagement is to manage the health of a population, maximize patient satisfaction and loyalty, or transition to value-based care, providers cannot underestimate the power of actively identifying socio-demographic attributes of their patient populations. The healthcare industry must take an active role in knowing and understanding patient populations by shifting to meaningful consumer segmentation, as other industries do when engaging consumers. Leveraging socio-demographic data provides the opportunity to create a consumer segmentation framework as a part of developing engagement strategies.
At Connance, we stressed the importance of incorporating socio-demographic insight in our first white paper, “Caring for the Whole Patient.” However, we are not alone in this mission to provide better care. According to Patient Safety and Quality Healthcare magazine, “Consumer segmentation is critical for meaningful and relevant patient engagement…. For healthcare, leveraging rich socio-economic, behavioral, attitudinal, and readiness-to-change profile data will provide for rich segmentation frameworks to deliver compelling messages that resonate and elicit action.”1
Healthcare providers have a tall order to fill in the scope of patient engagement as it is an integral component of quality in both accountable care organizations (ACOs) and patient centered medical homes (PCMHs). Under the Accountable Care Act (ACA), sustainability under these new models of care require providers to engage patients in ongoing care. Successful patient engagement is a win-win situation for providers and patients as, “Patients who are more actively involved in their healthcare, experience better health outcomes and incur lower cost. Positive patient outcomes contribute greatly to the financial success of healthcare providers as they must manage high risk patient populations who contribute to the majority of health costs.”2
The socio-demographic insight needed to manage patient populations cannot be found in a healthcare providers electronic medical record (EMR) which leaves healthcare provides without the complete picture of a patient’s ability to remain engaged in prescribed treatment plans. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), seventy percent of consumer health is driven by socio-economic and behavioral data. Simple tasks such as filling prescriptions or attending a scheduled doctor’s appointment are greatly affected by socio-economic and behavioral attributes in patient populations.
Patient engagement initiatives are just one critical area impacted by limited staffing resources in the healthcare sector. The goal in delivering quality care with a personal touch can prove to be difficult as healthcare providers are busy juggling multiple tasks at once. A patient’s perception of the care they receive can greatly impact an organization’s satisfaction scores and complicate future engagement initiatives for providers. The growing shift to value-based payment has forced hospitals, primary care offices and insurers to identify patients at greatest need for additional non-clinical services that will impact continued patient engagement. Leveraging technology and socio-demographic insights can enable providers to meet the demands of critical engagement strategies by providing actionable data about patient populations that lends to organizing daily tasks and streamlining workflows for greater efficiency.