Increased Awareness Doesn’t Equal Increased Action

Women in their 50s, 60s, and 70s are most at-risk for a breast cancer diagnosis. Surveys show that 1 in 4 women between the ages of 50-74 reported not being up-to-date with a breast cancer screening. And, men are often diagnosed at a more advanced stage as they don’t have routine screening mammograms like women.

Motivating people to go to the doctor when nothing feels wrong is a challenge. What’s even more challenging is motivating a hard to reach population when simply making contact is the biggest barrier to driving action.

Despite the increased public awareness of the importance of screening and early detection of breast cancer, health plans often experience low participation rates for member engagement programs centered around breast cancer screening. In fact, a new study by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that screening rates for breast, colorectal, and cervical cancer are lagging behind target rates set by the Healthy People Program.

A multi-state Blues plan was struggling to motivate their Medicare population to schedule a PCP visit for a breast cancer screening and as a result, their Star Ratings fell. They enlisted help from Icario to take a new approach to engage, improve outcomes, and impact Star Ratings.


Adopting an Omnichannel Digital Approach

Because this plan was struggling to engage their members using traditional outreach methods, like live agents and direct mail, Icario first assessed the possibility of using digital communication channels for outreach. Based on the health plan’s goals to improve their Star Ratings and engagement rates, Icario determined that an omnichannel digital approach, using minimal amounts of text messaging and interactive voice and a heavy focus on email, would yield the best outcome.

It’s important to note the impact of a single text message or interactive voice call shouldn’t be discounted—the synergy between channels is proven to increase engagement and drive health actions.

Patients were 8x more likely to engage when text messages were used in combination with interactive voice.


Establishing Messages That Resonate Through Behavioral Research

After evaluating the plans existing strategy and determining the outreach channels, Icario began this program by establishing message themes to incorporate into communications.

Icario’s behavioral research team has found that by understanding individual healthcare attitudes, belief systems, and habits we can create impactful messages for individuals that consistently deliver better results and motivate more people to take health action.

In order to move more people to schedule a breast cancer screening, Icario established several message themes along with layers of subsequent themes based on our research, including:

  • Early detection saves lives
  • You’re due for a screening
  • You need one even if you feel healthy


of members reached


of the population engaged


outreach attempts to action

Member Experience

Building Smart Sequences to Minimize Member Abrasion

With the shift from traditional outreach methods to communications via digital channels—text message, email, and interactive voice—Icario was confident we’d improve the member experience. We discovered that once members began interacting with the content, they were more likely to participate in the experience and take action.

Further, Icario has learned that when a member has a gap in care, it’s not uncommon for them to have several others. That’s why building strategic outreach sequences is so critical to minimize abrasion and keep members engaged in the current call to action—what we do now will affect new engagement attempts. We know that if we create too much abrasion, we’ll lose them and it’ll be very difficult to reengage them in future programs.

Icario takes this seriously. We know the future and the health of members depends on the engagement strategies used now. That’s why the Icario Platform was built with an ability to look at past programs, past members, and a broad range of member characteristics to determine the best channel, sequence, and message to keep people engaged in the long-term.

It only takes one messaging sequence to make a difference and save a life.


Reducing Member Abrasion With More Effective Engagement

The goal for this program was to motivate more people to schedule a breast cancer screening with their PCP. Out of the total population included in this program, we were able to reach 94% of members with 72% engaging with the outreach. Further, it only took 2.2 outreach attempts to spark action from the members engaged. This meant that not only did we choose the right channels to maximize engagement, but we used the right language to compel people to interact with the communications.

As we’ve learned, one messaging sequence can make all the difference and literally save a life, or give someone the chance to spend their life the way they want to.