Health Engagement Strategies for Patients Who Refuse to Engage
Health engagement programs can help improve the health of a population, but these efforts typically require a detailed understanding of every individual’s health status. For some segments of your population, an analysis of available claims data can be used to better understand the types of interventions that will have the greatest impact on clinical and financial outcomes. But what about those patients who do not engage with the health system and therefore do not generate claims data?
These patients often delay medical attention and wait to seek care after they have already developed a chronic condition and are presenting effects they can no longer ignore. And unfortunately, some early stages leading up to the development of chronic conditions have no warning signs. For example, prediabetes often has no red flags and patients don’t know they are at risk for diabetes. In fact, it is estimated that an alarming 86 million adult Americans have prediabetes and 97% are unaware of it.
This means there is a disheartening number of people who would benefit from some kind of health intervention or behavior change coaching, but don’t receive it until their health has deteriorated. A number of complex factors and barriers can contribute to this delay or avoidance to care, so it’s important to connect with each individual and learn the unique challenges they face as early as possible. Beyond patient engagement, prediabetes is often underdiagnosed by providers. In a recent analysis of one of our client’s claims data we found only 6% of the diabetic population where given a prediabetes diagnosis prior to their diabetes diagnosis. Digital health engagement can help you reach them and gain insight into their healthcare preferences and health management challenges.
One way to improve detection of at-risk individuals is to give members access to digital tools to self-manage their health. Condition risk assessment tools can both improve awareness and empower patients to take a more active role in their care. For example, the ADA Prediabetes Risk Test helps individuals determine whether they should consult their doctor regarding tests for prediabetes.
Reach Them Where They Are
Newsflash: the internet is here to stay. Now more than ever people are using the internet to gain insight into their own health or that of a loved one. According to published research, 72% of internet users have stated they have looked for online health information in the past year and 59% of these individuals were trying to determine what condition they might have. The phenomenon of social sharing has begun to translate into more awareness of chronic condition risks as well as peer-to-peer support for chronic condition management and medical treatment discussions. This behavior trend is leading to health and wellness activity tracking; 27% of internet users have tracked their weight, diet, exercise, or health indicators or symptoms online. This means a significant portion of the population is seeking health information through connected devices. Imagine the potential intelligence that could be gathered based on their inquiries alone! These individuals are ready to absorb recommendations that will help them better manage their health, so make sure the members of your population are gaining access to the most clinically sound advice available.
Meet Them on Their Own Terms
A critical issue with many engagement programs is participation. One way to achieve better response rates is to ask people to focus on addressing those goals most important to them. Digital health portals, tools and mobile outreach methods can help you capture timely health data and deliver activities and recommendations that address both their urgent care needs and personal concerns. It is important to offer health engagement programs and tools that are not only clinically relevant, but customizable to meet individual preferences to ensure lasting engagement. For example, access to multiple communication channels, such as chat, mobile text messaging and phone, can make participation in your health engagement program easy and convenient.
How many members of your population are disengaged? That’s a big number, right? To learn more about your disengaged population and how to plan for meaningful interventions, view our recent webinar, Managing the Health of Your Silent Population.