January 03, 2018

Utilization Series: Making utilization a reality by capitalizing on “micro moments”

By Stephany Verstraete

In the previous blog in this series we addressed the three trends accelerating utilization of virtual healthcare access in a mobile world. While today mobile is a means used by all ages and is an enabler of virtual care utilization, it doesn’t eliminate the need to focus on engagement. Here’s a look at how to take consumers from awareness to engagement, and keep users tuned in and emotionally tied to their virtual healthcare experience.

The journey from awareness (of a healthcare benefit) to engagement is a fragmented experience – it occurs over a number of different communication vehicles, both traditional and digital. And we’ve seen over the years is that it doesn’t matter what it is we’re trying to educate multiple generations of consumers about in order to drive behavior change. Whether it’s a new way to book travel, find a date, or get the best healthcare, achieving successful behavior change always comes down to relevant engagement. And at Teladoc, we are seeing numerous examples of innovative organizations successfully engaging their members, realizing the full impact of their telehealth benefit.

A key step is realizing that the experience is incredibly fragmented. Why is that? Our daily lives are filled with interruptions; as a result, we engage via what Google has coined “micro moments.” Consider these facts:

  • The avg. adult is using 30 different apps a month, which only accounts for between one third & one half of the number of apps on their phones.

  • The avg. office worker receives 121 emails per day

  • 69% of people say they feel direct mail is more personal than email

So to achieve “engagement,” the key is answering “how do we get her (or him) back?” The good news is that mobile adoption has created an “always connected” access that significantly expands the ability to engage. For example, it is estimated that more than 1/3 of millennials will use a virtual assistant this year… expansion of mobile access and engagement points is on the rise.

One thing is clear: there is no single communication vehicle that is going to be as effective as the combination. Breaking through the clutter means reaching our target member with multiple touchpoints, through distinct channels, with the contextually appropriate message.

Step one is starting the relationship out right: highly personalized welcome kits or emails, mailed to the home, are the single hardest working communication vehicle we have, across all our clients. But in the cluttered communication world of mobile, that isn’t enough.

When we aim to engage employees, change their behaviors, we have to relate to them both within the work context, as well as in their everyday lives. What does that look like in practice?

It means being front & center when an eligible consumer is giving you a signal that they need care, and are about to make a more costly choice. Or providing a subtle reminder when they are near an Urgent Care clinic, or perhaps in an airport, that no matter where they are, they have access to a doctor in minutes.

And what could be more appropriate than to look at the definition of a mobile workforce: one of America’s fastest growing wireless carriers. This is a case where the corporate culture & practices mirror their employees’ behaviors outside of work. We worked with them to develop a customized engagement program, one focused very heavily on digital communications, and supported by those non digital touchpoints that were most impactful for them: welcome kits & health fairs. This has proven to be a winning formula, with utilization growing year over year their cost savings scale. Importantly, employee satisfaction with the benefit is high.

This level of virtual care engagement is a trend we are seeing on the rise for 2018. Teladoc employer clients monitor their telehealth utilization at 2x the national average. We encourage all organizations to ensure they can answer “yes” to the following questions

  • Can your employees engage on their terms?

  • Does your communication strategy fit an interrupted, mobile journey?

  • Does your partner shoulder responsibility for driving visit based utilization?