One of the biggest challenges facing health plans is motivating people to complete preventive visits, like breast cancer or colon cancer screenings, when nothing feels wrong. The mindset often is, “Why make the trip to the doctor’s office when I feel fine?” This is a common thought track and has only become more prevalent during the course of the pandemic. In fact, Icario recently wrote about preventive screening utilization and the impact the utilization decrease will have in the coming years.

Icario’s goal when running health action programs is to understand what motivates people and learn how to best engage individuals to take the health actions that they may feel are unnecessary, when in fact, they could potentially save a life. One of our recent breast cancer screening programs with an innovative national health plan illustrates this perfectly.

Driving the Next Best Action to Boost Breast Cancer Screenings

This preventive breast cancer screening program was unique because it engaged a population of members that had already engaged in a previous Icario program. That program was a new member survey, designed to get to know new members and their health history to identify gaps and improve health early in the new member-plan relationship.

This follow-on program targeted new Medicare plan members, identified in the survey, who needed to close care gaps—in this case a breast cancer screening. The benefit of coupling health action programs in this way is that the member has already engaged, so immediately following up with them and communicating the next best action based on their initial survey is typically successful, because they recognize why they’re receiving the communications.

Program Goals, Design, and Successes

The goal of the program was to make sure there was a clear path forward and an avenue for members to close the gaps they were eligible for. By offering the new member survey and identifying a clear next best action, we were able to communicate to the members quickly to let them know they should complete a breast cancer screening.

The design of this program as a follow-on demonstrated the power of a positive member experience. We learned that the better a health plan knows their members, the more accurately and seamlessly we can move them to take desired health actions. At the end of the day, that’s what health plans want for their members—to keep things connected and close as many care gaps as possible with little member abrasion.

One of the key successes in this program was the use of digital outreach channels. We were able to apply full text messaging capabilities when outreaching to this population, which made a tremendous difference in the engagement rates.


The combination of the fast-follow program, identifying the next best action, and the use of digital channel outreach resulted in great results:


engagement rate


contact rate

The health plan was pleased with the outcome of this program, so much so that they are adding more follow-on programs because they recognize their value to close critical preventive care gaps.

Member Gaps in Care eBook

The Great Divide: 5 Strategies to Bridge Healthcare Member Gaps in Care

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