The internet and the methods with which we access it have changed consumerism in the U.S. Mobile devices, tablets and desktops now make it easier to research and purchase just about everything today, including health care. Consumers have more choices, greater accountability and an increasing volume of information to navigate. More and more, consumers are turning to digital tools to help them make sense of this information and guide their decision-making.
Mobile apps, data-gathering wearables, treatment cost estimators and condition-specific communities on social media are just some of the ways health care has become part of the digital marketplace.
Consumer demand is increasing in four areas that drive digital:
- Instant gratification: Consumers want to exchange information anytime, anywhere.
- Innovation: Consumers desire data from all their devices to be integrated in a single view.
- Personalization: Consumers expect their health plan to understand their needs and target communications based on that.
- Simplification: Consumers presume interactions to be quick and easy.
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In light of this demand, digital tactics will continue to evolve to further meet consumers “where they are.” For example, pharmacy calls for prescription refill reminders may evolve to medication requests via a smartwatch.
Driving awareness and engagement with digital support
Health plans should have sound digital strategies to meet consumers where they are online since many consumers rely heavily on internet searching when they enter the health care market. The most commonly searched health care topics include specific diseases or conditions, treatment options, physician and health care coverage.
Once a decision is made about health coverage, consumers prefer to manage many aspects of their health care themselves. The preference for do-it-yourself health management has led health plans to offer tools and resources that make health care more simple, personalized and convenient for their members.
Given how far technology has come, consumers want the following conveniences from their health insurer:
- Online account information
- Phone support
- Physician ratings/reviews
- Cost comparisons
- Email communication
Looking at this list, it’s clear that health plans will need to continue to develop transparent and innovative methods to drive awareness and engagement. For more information and helpful checklists, review “Digital marketing optimization: Strategies for engaging health care consumers online.”
In our next blog, we’ll continue the digital market optimization conversation with a look at SEO, mobile and social media strategies.
1Pew Research, 2015
About the Author:
Deb Jorge is the Vice President of Strategic Marketing & Sales Consulting. Deb brings more than 20 years of marketing and sales experience. Prior to joining Optum, she served as Director of Marketing for UnitedHealthcare, where she managed a team responsible for member and B2B marketing and communications, including print, mobile, social, email marketing and broker and member portals, as well as product marketing and sales support.
She has extensive experience in the development of go-to-market strategies and helped launch new products and programs for UnitedHealth Group, including Rally, myHCE and Advocate4Me. Prior to joining UnitedHealth Group, Deb was VP of Marketing for ING and MassMutual and directed global public relations for three Citigroup businesses.
Deb earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Marketing Communications from the University of Massachusetts and a Certificate in Database Marketing from DePaul University. She is Six Sigma certified.