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Survey: Value-Based Care Driving Investments in Consumer Engagement

October 4, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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Investment in consumer engagement is a top priority for 80 percent of payers and 72 percent of providers, and value-based care is the top reason why, according to new research.

The survey, from Nashville, Tenn.-based Change Healthcare and market researcher ORC International, included 89 payers, 251 providers, and 771 consumers. The research looked to shed light on why and how payers and providers are focusing on consumer engagement, where they’re investing, and differences in their priorities. It also reveals concerning gaps between what payers and providers think they’re achieving and what consumers are actually experiencing, according to the researchers.

Indeed, according to the survey results, investment in consumer engagement is a top priority for 80 percent of payers and 72 percent of providers, and value-based care is the top reason why, followed by competitive pressures and consumer demand for a more retail experience.

But while a third of healthcare IT investment dollars are earmarked for consumer engagement, 72 percent of consumers said that their experience with providers and health plans hasn’t improved or has worsened in the past 24 months. Less than 21 percent reported an improved experience. Additionally, consumer engagement is hampered by a “millennial gap” that shows older patients aren’t getting the attention they need to benefit from consumerization strategies.

Of the providers who were surveyed, 71 percent were community hospitals, 22 percent teaching hospitals, and the rest were city, county, and pediatric facilities. The patient populations’ insurance mix was 35 percent commercial, 34 percent traditional Medicare, 22 percent traditional Medicaid, and 8 percent self-pay, with 47 percent part of an accountable care organization (ACO) and 63 percent part of a health system.

And of the nearly 800 consumers, 47 percent were covered by an employer-sponsored health plan, 29 percent had Medicare or Medicare Advantage, 10 percent had Medicaid or Managed Medicaid, 6 percent had individual insurance, and 6 percent were covered through a public exchange.

“Payers, providers, and consumers sometimes have different agendas when it comes to engagement priorities and efficacy, and these insights are critical to informing investment strategies,” Carolyn J. Wukitch, senior vice president and general manager, network and financial management, Change Healthcare, said in a statement. “Consumers want new and better tools because they now have a greater financial responsibility. But the research shows technology investment is just a first step. Payers and providers have opportunities to capitalize on their investments, tailor experiences to what consumers want, promote adoption of these innovative services, and solicit feedback—and that goes double for the largest part of the population, older patients. Engagement requires more than tools alone.”

The complete research paper, The Engagement Gap: Healthcare Consumer Engagement in 2017, is now available at ConsumerEngagementStudy.com.

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