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Why Content Is the Key to Opening Healthcare’s Digital Front Door – Part 2: Payers

Key and keyhole with light

This is the second part of our series in which we’re discussing healthcare’s digital front door — the technologies and strategies you use to engage with consumers throughout their journeys. Having a cohesive content strategy is the key for consumers to open your digital front door and engage with your organization. To recap:

  • Part 1 of the series focused on the provider experience
  • This part, Part 2, focuses on the payer (insurance) experience
  • Part 3 (by my colleague Marlana Voerster) will focus on the experience for medical-device organizations

We’ll discuss three reasons why having a consistent and strong content strategy in place is crucial for the success of your digital front door. These reasons are: emotional factors, rational factors and motivational factors.

Emotional: Your content lets you overcome consumers’ distrust

Consumers and patients have an inherent trust in healthcare providers. This gives provider organizations an advantage that payers don’t have: Their audiences tend to believe what they say. For you and your payer organization, you have a tougher road to travel.

Many of your consumers will inherently distrust you from the start of their interactions with you. Either from past experiences with former payer companies, messages from outside sources or a lack of accurate information about care options (more on that below), a significant number of healthcare consumers will give your content the side-eye.

In addition, many consumers perceive you as a barrier between them and their provider. Since, as we’ve discussed, most healthcare consumers trust and believe in their providers, any third party between them and that trusted source of truth is at best an annoyance and at worst an active blocker of their healthcare.

This distrust means you as the payer organization first need to show the consumer how you make their healthcare experiences smoother and easier. Address their frequent (and often deal-breaking) questions right up front:

  • Yes, your doctor’s in network
  • Yes, we cover your medicines; here’s how you verify that
  • Yes, we have a huge network of providers to cover any current or potential conditions you may have
  • Yes, we cover X treatment or Y therapy; here’s how you verify that

Don’t expect consumers to take your word for anything you say. Make it easy for them to verify your claims no matter how they’re interacting with you. And make sure the information you provide for those verifications is correct. Because consumers start off with you from a place of distrust, anything they find that confirms those beliefs will send them scrambling for the “Back” button on their browsers.

But if you successfully reassure them that you’re here to make their care easier, not harder, you can lower their distrust enough for them to be open to the rational argument.

Rational: Your content is vital for speaking to your value proposition

Shopping for a health insurance plan has considerable financial ramifications for consumers. This means consumers expect to be able to compare costs and benefits of your plans. And when they can’t, or if the information is inaccurate, they tend to wonder what else they can’t trust you about (as noted in those low trust scores referenced above).

Modern digital consumers expect the Amazon experience as table stakes. They want fast, easy and intuitive tools to compare your products and options. Your digital front door strategy must accommodate those high expectations. And your content must be both correct and understandable for users to engage with you.

Make sure your website, apps and other technologies allow consumers to compare plans and coverages in a device-agnostic experience. Don’t force consumers onto a desktop or laptop when they’re comparing plan options. Many digital-savvy healthcare consumers expect to be able to go from research to plan purchase on their smartphones or tablets. And for the less-digital-savvy, make it easy to request materials or print plan comparisons. This lets you build trust with your consumers no matter how comfortable they are with your technologies.

Another area where you can stand out in today’s payer marketplace is in your customer service. Devote space in your content to outline your customer-service options. Consumers want to get a quick response from a knowledgeable staff member when they have a question. If you’ve implemented service options that rely on a chatbot or artificial intelligence (AI), be prepared to explain how these options will help the consumer. Also, let them know what situations are appropriate for the machine-powered options and when it’s time to reach out for a human response. Making sure your customer-service representatives understand both the rational and emotional needs of your consumers can help continue to build trust and rapport with your audience when they call in for assistance.

Motivational: Your content must encourage action

Payer content isn’t something consumers bring for a nice beach read or to kill some time at the bus stop. When consumers are reading or skimming your content, they want to do something. And it’s up to you to surface that action, or you risk the consumer drifting away before they convert.

Most of your content across all platforms and experiences should encourage a conversion. Of course, most of your conversion activities should be geared toward shopping for a health plan. But, occasionally, you’ll want to motivate users to fill out a form, download an e-book, sign up for a seminar or any number of other related activities. Make sure you’re using a strong CTA strategy to motivate action on the consumer’s part.

Whatever conversion looks like for a particular piece of content, make sure you’ve aligned that content with the insights provided by your personas and journey maps. Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What should the consumer want to do after they’ve consumed this content?
  2. Does that action align with our business goals?
  3. Can we offer that action to the consumer?

If you can’t answer any of those questions, or if your answers don’t align with what the consumer is likely to want at this stage of their journey, consider revising your strategy.

In addition, make sure you’re always moving toward conversions that are more direct and less indirect. With a direct conversion, the consumer can achieve their goal with little or no involvement from anyone on your end. But with an indirect conversion, the consumer must wait on action from your team before they can proceed. Especially on the payer side, the consumer is less willing to wait on your team before they move on to someone who can meet their needs faster.

Content keeps your digital front door open

Our healthcare-exclusive strategy team has helped payer organizations get the most out of their digital front door strategies with our conversion-focused content solutions. We have the experience and expertise you need to make members out of your consumers. Contact us to learn more.

And don’t miss Part 3 in this series. You’ll learn about the intricacies and considerations involved with unlocking the digital front door for medical-device organizations. See you then!

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Michael Adkins, Senior Content Strategist, Digital Health Strategy

As part of Perficient's Digital Health Strategy team, Michael partners with healthcare organizations to create informative, conversion-centered content for a variety of applications, including websites and blogs. Michael writes content that highlights clients’ service-line offerings, expertise in unique treatments, differentiators in competitive markets and additional factors that are important to patients.

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