Hearing the words “member abrasion” in healthcare is enough to send chills down your spine. It’s a scary concept. Not just because your members are going dark, but because we drove them there.

By definition, abrasion means wearing down or scraping away, insinuating that it’s not a person’s choice that this is happening—it’s caused by an outside force. And in the case of member abrasion, that outside force is their health plan.

We can do better. Plans can learn to surprise and delight, build trust and create personalized and engaging member experiences.

Learn Icario’s top four tips to avoid the scariest thing in healthcare engagement—member abrasion.

Tip #1

Call when people want you to. Or don’t call at all.

Everyone has personal preferences unique to who they are. Some people buy newspapers to get their daily news, while others tune into podcasts. That’s the beauty of the world we live in—we’ve got options. The same is true for member communications. It’s not all about direct mail or live agent calls anymore. Although these channels are still incredibly effective for some populations, text messaging, email, and interactive voice calls expand healthcare outreach options. Leverage them to reduce member abrasion.

Further, knowing what people like is key to keeping members engaged, as is understanding the health equity barriers they may be facing. People want to feel like their circumstances matter (because they do), so knowing when they want their communications is just as important as the content. That sometimes means that no matter how badly you want to make that reminder call during dinner, your chances of driving health action are higher if you send a morning text.

Tip #2

Adopt a data strategy that’s strongand friendly.

An effective engagement strategy’s core is high-quality, complete member data. More and more plans understand the power of member data and are working to utilize that information for the best outcomes possible.

If your data is incomplete or siloed across your organization, you aren’t getting a complete picture of your members. This means you may be targeting the right people, but you are likely sending the wrong types of messages at the wrong time to the wrong cell number, email, or physical address. This leads to unanswered calls, ignored text messages, and papers in the trash—the very thing you don’t want. 

By establishing a data strategy, you can eliminate the pain, learn from the insights you glean, and talk to members more personally. In addition, an effective strategy will factor in social determinants of health (SDoH), such as a lack of internet connectivity, food insecurity, transportation issues, and cultural competency elements like language preference.

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Tip #3

Don’t try to fact people into action. Tell a compelling story instead.

You may be surprised to know that facts and figures don’t motivate people to take action or change their behavior for the majority of the population. In fact, they could cause more harm than good, ultimately driving people further away.

The reason is that facts aren’t personal. They may be interesting to hear, but they don’t have any concrete meaning for an individual. Storytelling will always have a greater impact on behavior.

It’s important to discern what matters to members to keep them engaged. You can learn a lot about people by varying your messages to discover what kind of story compels someone to interact in the form of a click or a call-back. Once you understand what matters, you can tailor the stories you tell to have the most influence. And better yet, when your call to action is clear and resonates, people have the confidence to take action on their own.

Tip #4

Use incentives strategically. Otherwise, you’ll get ghosted.

We’ve found that rewards and incentives work exceptionally well for specific populations. So if you find incentives are working well to drive action, embrace them, but don’t let them run the show. What we mean is, use them strategically. Don’t use them every time, and don’t up the ante with every outreach because your members will catch on, and soon they won’t engage unless there’s a bigger and better incentive.

Instead, get to know your members and create value based on individual preferences. The value of a member completing a health action like a Health Risk Assessment (HRA) or Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) goes beyond a reward. It’s about individual health. Help your members live healthier lives by tapping into what matters most. Don’t default to generic rewards.

Member Preferences Are Key

We challenge you to keep member preferences top of mind. The more you keep your members at the center of your outreach strategy, the less likely you’ll experience member abrasion.

Are you ready to embrace personalization as the driving force of meaningful health engagement?