Healthcare trends to watch for in 2024
The U.S. healthcare industry faced another year of continuous change in 2023. Patients and providers looked for more ways to leverage telehealth and other digital health options to improve care access amid the ongoing staffing shortage. At the same time, an uncertain economy made it difficult for many patients to afford necessary care and medications.
What should health plans be prepared for this year? Based on customer and audience feedback, we compiled a list of 5 healthcare trends health plans are focusing on in 2024:
Update the health plan member experience
There are many reasons for health plans to work on modernizing and improving the member experience. Improving member satisfaction leads to higher retention rates, reducing the costs of marketing and onboarding. Member satisfaction can also lead to greater trust in your health plan and higher engagement rates.
What does it mean to update and improve the health plan member experience? Your organization can start by expanding outreach to member populations outside the highest-risk category. This can help build relationships with more members earlier in their care journeys—which can also help improve engagement and outcomes.
Increase member engagement throughout the care journey
Member engagement has become a vital metric for health plans. Higher rates of member engagement can help improve health literacy, which is vital to helping members make more informed health decisions. Improving member engagement can also be beneficial for better understanding individual health needs and communication preferences.
To increase engagement, it’s important to give members multiple ways to interact with their providers and your health plan. Members are also more likely to interact with communications and resources that are relevant to their needs and health goals, so personalization is key.
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Close and prevent care gaps
Traditionally, healthcare is a reactive industry. Once members experience a health event they visit a clinician, receive a diagnosis, and begin treatment. Focusing on providing proactive care and outreach can prevent care gaps from forming in the first place—keeping members healthier for longer. Plus, closing care gaps can improve HEDIS and star rating scores.
To understand whether a member is facing a gap in care, health plans need information about their lifestyle and health history. For many health plans, this requires opening and maintaining lines of communication with their members throughout their health journeys. These methods can include everything from telephonic outreach to digital surveys and secure messaging.
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Improve digital resource adoption
Health plans have invested heavily in digital health tools over the past three years—just like the rest of the healthcare industry. Now that the fanfare has died down, plans are looking for ways to maximize adoption of digital solutions and get the most from their investments. But getting staff and members to use digital tools can be a challenge. The key is to help them see the value in engaging with digital health.
“Digital health” comes in many forms, and health plans must discover what works best for their staff workflows and their member populations. Requesting staff input and creating a feedback loop are two of the most effective ways health plans can encourage staff to incorporate digital tools into their workflows. For members, it’s vital to see themselves in the value stories so they can see how others like them are benefiting from using yet another digital health tool.
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Address health equity for Medicare and Medicaid members
Medicaid redeterminations led to confusion for many members—particularly those who were no longer eligible for coverage. Health plans had to develop strategies for enrolling and engaging members in different programs to avoid care gaps. This is even more important considering Medicaid and Medicare members are often at higher risk for health complications and may face health barriers related to various social determinants.
Engaging these populations requires a unique understanding of their lifestyles and priorities. Despite common misconceptions, both Medicare and Medicaid members are open to using digital health to manage their health and engage with their care teams. This makes it easier for health plans to access the member information necessary to provide personalized outreach and support.
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