The Future of Consumer Health

For years, health plans have been an important part of the healthcare system providing health insurance benefits and health management programs to millions of consumers. We have identified and managed chronic disease and illness working with our partners in care delivery. Today, many health plans are acquiring and investing in capabilities to improve population health and well-being, creating comprehensive wellness platforms based on principals of behavioral science, and driving connectivity and data flow among providers. But what does the future look like? How will health plans better serve consumers like you?

We will come to your world and not simply expect you to come into ours.

Today, you may receive an email or letter from a health plan reminding you to get your flu shot. If you don’t schedule an appointment right away, you might tuck that reminder in the back of your mind, eventually forgetting about it. What if, instead, you received an alert the next time you walked into a pharmacy reminding you that you could get your flu shot in that store with little wait time?  And, by the way, the shot is free and you will earn reward points.  

The above is just one example of meeting your needs within the context of your lives. In the future, you won’t have to disrupt your routine to take care of your health. Rather, you’ll receive gentle nudges at the right time and right place to help you take an action in favor of your health and well-being.  Think about your own lives.  You may recall many instances in which you were influenced by a contextual cue (an in store advertisement, for example) to take an immediate action that you may not have otherwise chosen.

What’s the role of the health plan in this future? We will use data to deliver these timely nudges to our members through your mobile devices, creating moments of influence that can help you improve your health.   

We will help consumers create their own health and well-being ecosystem powered by partnerships and our own capabilities.

Currently, most wellness offerings only recognize and reward consumers for the experiences offered to them through a defined program.   Pre-set experiences, even if best in class, are limiting in a world where consumer needs are diverse and constantly evolving.  In an open, consumer-centric ecosystem, consumers will help inform what services and partnerships are included, resulting in an integrated, personalized health and wellness experience.

Imagine if every device, network or program you participate in today were integrated to form your own path to well-being.  Everything from your preferred weight management program and gym, your wearable devices, and your social networks would be woven together to create your personal ecosystem. Take for example, someone who is attempting to lose weight. He may be part of his employer’s wellness program, using his wearable device to track his steps and also participating in weight management program.  

By enabling this ecosystem, I see health plans in the future “advocating” on behalf of the consumer to bring these experiences together to drive and deliver optimal value.  

We are at an inflection point in healthcare where we have the opportunity to meet consumers where they are in their wellness journeys and drive moments of influence that make it easier for all to achieve good health. Healthcare stakeholders need to determine how we can best live inside your life if we are to create more value for you, our customer.   

Please share your thoughts on a consumer-centric future of health.

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Discover more on employee health and wellness: When Wellness Works

Speak loudly, step boldly!February 17th, 2015 1:39pm Beth Bierbower consumer health healthcare