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How Education Leads to Activation

Health Literacy is the key to activating health consumers and lowering costs to serve.

As it stands today, 9 in 10 US adults lack basic health literacy. This gap in knowledge leads to poor lifestyle choices, which drive 70% of healthcare costs.

Educated health consumers feel empowered to make choices that create better health outcomes and lower costs to serve. But how can we ensure we’re reaching the right people at the right time and delivering quality, tailored content that gives consumers the confidence to own their health?

We’ve identified three key areas that need to be addressed in order to drive healthy behavior change that scales.

Bring Content to Your Consumer 

Hosting good educational content on a portal or website and hoping for your consumers to stumble upon it is not a winning strategy. Neither is blasting out mass messages that they begin to tune out after the 5th or 6th message to watch a video about a condition they don’t have, or a problem they already solved. With rich data available, we now have the insights needed to understand health consumers on an individual level and tailor not only what is said, but in what format the message is sent. This is particularly critical when addressing health disparities, or other health barriers.

By aligning your digital experience journey, you can assess and adapt your communication strategy to the individual’s needs. If we want health consumers to learn to make smarter health decisions, we have to meet them where they are.

Omnichannels - SMS Messaging, Phone and IVR, Emails, RBM and RCS, Mobile Web

Shift Content from Informational to Educational 

Video streaming services account for over half of global time spent online. With streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu making highly-produced cinematic content the norm, other industries need to meet rising consumer expectations. Viewers are 9 times more likely to retain information from video versus text.

Quality content not only holds our attention, but also ties into credibility. Healthcare is no exception. Personalized educational content delivered to consumers when and where they need it is the future.

So if education drives lifestyle choices, and choices drive costs, shouldn’t we invest in better education? Yes. But that’s not the problem. From Dr. Google and WebMD to a take-home pamphlet a nurse gives you, most health “education” is built to inform—not to teach.

We know from adult learning theory that simply telling someone to read, watch or listen is not enough. These are inherently passive ways to impart information. If we want real learning and change to occur, we need to design learning experiences that give us ways to reflect, process and apply what we’re learning.

Across need state or wellbeing dimension, a properly designed digital learning experience can personalize to the individual’s needs and guide them to the right programs.

Streaming Media Services - Netflix, Spotify, YouTube, Amazon Prime Video

Provide Actionable Next Steps

In order to close gaps in care and deliver those key metrics, action is needed and action equals outcomes.

Now that we’ve gotten a consumer’s attention through their preferred channel and taught them something of value, how do we want them to apply this information? Directing users to appropriate calls to action and applicable programs, resources or services drives confident decisions inspired by health literacy.

Process - Captivate Video, Discussion, Educate Video, Identify Key Obstacles to Change, Member Success Video, Key Actions to Take Next

Ready to revolutionize the definition of health engagement? Talk to us.

mPulse Mobile Acquires The Big Know

The acquisition combines mPulse’s proven ability to reach and engage vital member populations with The Big Know’s learning expertise and rich media health education experiences, enabling health innovators to deliver personalized conversational experiences in preferred member channels and streaming content formats. Click to read the full release.

Hear from mPulse CEO, Chris Nicholson, and The Big Know President, Allison Gage

A Tale of Two Companies

mPulse Mobile

One thing we’ve learned from over a decade of experience and more than 400 million conversations annually is the power of education in self-efficacy and how that leads to activation. Our solutions excel at reaching and engaging diverse member and patient populations on their healthcare journey, helping customers to measurably improve outcomes. We are on a path to power over half a billion digital interactions in 2021, through a combination of engagement channels, behavioral science strategies, analytic insights, and industry expertise. Combining our engagement expertise with streaming health education creates a holistic member and patient engagement experience for our customers.

Chris Nicholson, CEO, mPulse Mobile

The Big Know

The Big Know creates health education for the streaming age. Through video courses and podcasts taught by inspiring health experts, the company drives health literacy and member engagement through powerful learning technology. Launched in 2015, The Big Know is recognized as an industry-leading learning experience platform and health education provider.

Allison Gage, President, The Big Know

Looking Forward

As consumer expectations and preferences continue to change, healthcare organizations must adjust to meet their needs and maintain strong relationships with their consumers. Quality member and patient engagement is a vital and unavoidable part of the healthcare journey. The acquisition of The Big Know empowers mPulse to meet consumer expectations with streaming health content, including podcasts and video courses. Additionally, this acquisition increases our ability to create new content and engagement experiences as consumer and organization needs evolve. We aim to always be up to date with consumer interest and behavior so our customers can provide best-in-class experiences to their members and patients. We are now able to do that better than ever.

Full Release

mPulse Mobile Acquires The Big Know To Add Streaming Health Education Experience

Pivotal industry partnership reimagines health engagement and sets forth path to drive greater health outcomes

LOS ANGELES, January 19, 2021 – mPulse Mobile, the leader in conversational AI solutions for the healthcare industry, today announced its acquisition of The Big Know, a prominent digital learning company transforming how healthcare educates consumers. The partnership combines mPulse’s proven ability to reach and engage vital member populations with The Big Know’s learning expertise and rich media health education experiences, enabling health innovators to deliver personalized conversational experiences in preferred member channels and streaming content formats.

“One thing we’ve learned from years of healthcare engagement is the power of education in self-efficacy and ultimately health activation,” said Chris Nicholson, CEO and Co-Founder of mPulse Mobile. “Healthcare organizations need to provide meaningful and relevant education to their consumers in a way that is both familiar and impactful. We realize that streaming health education experiences are the best way to meet that need.”

mPulse Mobile solutions excel at reaching and engaging diverse member and patient populations on their healthcare journey, helping customers to measurably improve outcomes. They are actively engaging nearly 50 million Americans and are on a path to power over half a billion digital interactions in 2021, through a combination of engagement channels, behavioral science strategies, analytic insights, and industry expertise.

The Big Know adds a superior ability to captivate, educate and activate individuals through award-winning cinematic content that is proven to sustain deeper relationships. The company’s unique approach to personalization allows for delivery of content when and where members need it most and supports their learning journey.

Both companies combine to set a new standard for health engagement and experience. The result is a holistic approach to digital health engagement with integrated conversational AI and rich content streaming, a major development for the industry that helps address gaps in how healthcare organizations educate and activate their members.

“We have a mission to improve health equity and health outcomes for the populations that we serve. Building on a foundation of knowledge through demographically appropriate learning strategies will help our clients and us achieve these goals and reduce health disparities,” Nicholson continued. “Our combination with The Big Know is a perfect synergy. Our legacy of engaging with hard-to-reach patient populations combines with their dedication to health literacy and formative learning experiences to ensure more educational engagements and greater outcomes.”

A deeper entrenchment in the streaming age and shifting consumer expectations demand a shift in the healthcare industry’s approach to care delivery and experiences. Quality patient engagement must be acknowledged as a vital and unavoidable part of the healthcare journey. Through this acquisition, mPulse and The Big Know will not only address these emerging industry demands but will pave the way by reimagining what patient engagement and experience should accomplish.

“When we think about healthcare delivery, member and patient engagement must include education,” said Allison Gage, current President of The Big Know, and mPulse’s new Chief Engagement Officer. “We must help consumers better understand and learn the skills to activate their personal health journey and give them the confidence and motivation to seek the best possible care. Only then will they take the necessary action to be healthier and happier. Our collaboration with mPulse allows us to accomplish this and so much more, and our investors, such as LFE Capital are excited about this new direction for The Big Know.  This is a most meaningful year in healthcare and a time for transformational health engagement.”

How We Tailor Healthcare Engagement Content

As consumers, most of us have grown to expect personalized and relevant messaging from the companies we interact with. Think of the pleasant surprise when you receive a coupon for a product you wanted, or by contrast, the irritation of irrelevant messages about something you were never going to buy cluttering your email inbox before you eventually flag as spam. There are two ways for organizations to provide the better experience: a lucky guess (really a broadcast message that at least a small percentage of the audience will find useful) or aligning outreach with individual-level data. In order to earn and maintain consumer attention and ultimately drive action, successful organizations understand that each touchpoint must happen as part of a coordinated, long-term relationship, not in one-time campaigns. This means each piece of content delivered in any given consumer engagement program must be timely and tailored.

Healthcare organizations must deliver this same integrated experience in order to truly engage members and patients. With multiple outreach programs in place, often across departments with competing schedules and priorities, this poses a unique challenge. Barraging members with excessive information only causes frustration and damages trust, especially if some of the messages aren’t relevant to each person. Getting members to engage with content and ultimately act upon it requires first knowing what content will be important to them, and delivering it at the right time.

mPulse Mobile built our proprietary content recommendation engine, mCare, to solve this problem a few years ago. Our customers were engaging members in dialogue via text, but were struggling to leverage the insights from their responses to inform the next touchpoint days or weeks later. Since most 3rd party recommendation engines are not focused on healthcare or conversational engagement, we built our own to fit with the kinds of activation-focused solutions that healthcare requires.

mCare not only delivers relevant content designed to drive action, but it also orchestrates each touchpoint over time, so that members are engaged rather than overwhelmed. We get a lot of questions about mCare and the Activation Intelligence process that it drives, so we put together a quick overview here.

Understanding, Tailoring, and Activating

The first step in this process is understanding the individual. We maintain persistent and dynamic profiles of members that combine a range data attributes, including demographics, health status, psychographics, engagement data, and more that can depend on the customer and solutions. Member profiles constantly evolve as we learn more about each individual, including information gathered through dialogue interactions automated by Conversational AI. This comprehensive understanding is key to determining the right topics for each member.

mCare matches members to content by comparing key profile attributes to our content libraries, and then selects the single next best content topic. Say you have a new member who we know to have a chronic condition such as diabetes. mCare will search all available content and dialogues to match this individual to topics that are relevant—a new member welcome, prompts to schedule an eye exam, or educational health tips.

While all of these subjects are pertinent, receiving several messages, or even several multi-message dialogues, at once could overwhelm and frustrate the member while dulling the impact of each. mCare uses rules configured for each customer and population that are informed by mPulse’s behavioral data science principles. It selects the best topic and prioritizes that conversation – for instance, a new member welcome over an immediate ask to schedule the eye exam. As the person engages (or doesn’t), their profile will update, along with any new data we get directly from the customer. So at the next touchpoint (e.g. a week later), mCare will make an even better informed decision.

This is also where automatically tailoring content can become very powerful. In that diabetic member example, the person may not have responded to the welcome dialogue. So when mCare runs again, it notes the lower engagement level and selects an eye exam reminder that has been written to target hard-to-reach and lower engagement populations instead of a more standard one. Whether mCare sends a follow up eye exam reminder, or changes tailoring tactics later on, would depend on whether the member engages and takes action.

Tailored and timely delivery of content is the beginning of effective engagement. mCare starts with the most important topic first and ensures that all subsequent touchpoints are delivered in a coordinated, prioritized fashion over weeks, months, or years. The ranking and importance of each topic within mCare is determined customer business goals and desired program results, as well as input from our team of behavioral data scientists to drive health outcomes. This means that a series of diet and exercise tips for a member population would be superseded by a vaccine reminder at the beginning of flu season.

Starting a conversation with the right message at the right time earns members’ trust, attention, and builds stronger relationships. To truly deliver optimal engagement, mCare handles diverse types of content and can send them across channels. Flexible and scalable, these content libraries can expand and the content recommendation engine can adjust based on shifting business needs and priorities. Rather than starting over for each campaign, mCare views each person in the context of an ongoing and evolving relationship to ensure your consumers are engaging with valuable, tailored content to activate healthy behaviors.

Key Takeaways from the 11th Annual Star Ratings Master Class

mPulse Mobile’s Government Programs Strategic Market Executive, Reva Sheehan, discussed Keeping Momentum: Best Practices to Maintain or Improve Star Ratings, with Johns Hopkins, Ph.D., Director, Quality Improvement, Tejaswita Karve, at RISE’s 11th Annual Star Ratings Master Class. Here are our Key Takeaways:

Member Experience Depends on Meeting Member Communication Preferences

Newly weighted star measures capture anything from call center measures to HOS measures and more, and all will tie back to member experience in some way. Analyzing sentiment from interactions will be an area that plans, and providers will need to focus on more heavily as those weights start to take effect. Asking such questions such as, what resonates with the member? What do members respond to? And then measuring such data and using it to meet members communication preferences, is vital to star ratings moving forward. For instance, plans will want to know which and how many members prefer IVR over text message, or email over mailers. Reva Sheehan from mPulse made an interesting point, that CMS, and others, expect plans to reach out to their members using multiple forms of communication. That means the data the plan uses to see who prefers what kind of communication should be segmented appropriately and used in addition to other touchpoints. A plan can see high engagement from email outreach, but they cannot forget or ignore the members who prefer IVR, or link-to-web. Using an omnichannel approach to execute dialogue between member, plan, and provider, is key to guiding the plan’s entire population to the right resources and messaging. Understanding what outreach works best for each member and keeping them at the center of the plan’s communication strategy will also build that trust and long-lasting relationship with their member. So, when it comes to value-based care, truly tailoring touchpoints to each member’s preference is one of the first steps to maintaining an effective and trusting ongoing dialogue.

Leveraging Communication Tools to Shift back into In-Person Care

Although star ratings will see its largest shift towards member experience, plans will still need to prioritize other HEDIS measures in addition to experience, such as preventive screenings and care for example. And plans may need to focus on those clinical quality of care measures even more so due to precautions from stay-at-home orders in 2020. With a new drop in preventive screenings alongside star ratings shifts, plans and providers have strong reasoning to leverage communication tools even more to get the message out about the importance of preventive screenings, among other health management tools and benefits. When we enter a post-pandemic phase and members start seeking out digital and in-person care, vaccine information, or following up on screenings they have postponed, providers will need to work within their systems to manage what may seem like a cascade of sudden requests. On the plan side, though it may be more difficult to directly affect what kind of care a member receives, they can help educate and set up the right expectations for the member to help ease that transition, so the member is less likely to experience an unpleasant surprise when reaching their appointment. Plans can leverage their communication tools and partners to make sure that end-to-end member experience is accounted for, which can also translate into positive CAHPS survey responses.

Scalable Solutions that Work for All

Member Engagement should encompass what works for everyone and segment that outreach accordingly to work effectively. Special populations such as hard-to-reach members and the underserved communities hold a bit of the focus in terms of member engagement, and as they should, but as the weights change over the next two years, the focus will need to widen to members that are also mildly engaged. The mildly engaged members are those who don’t need ongoing care or who have readily available access to their healthcare and don’t feel like they need to be in continued conversation with their plans. So, when it comes to scaling an engagement solution, it means using tailored content that reflects each member’s level of need. Like  Tejaswita Karve mentioned in the panel, “One method won’t work for everyone – one size does not fit all.” Understanding the nuances in the way communication formats are used is important to tailoring content to fit the member’s preferences, rather than the other way around. Capturing those preferences as useable data will give the plan an opportunity to scale their solutions more effectively than strictly going off what works for most.

Proactively Educating Members Will Continue to Make a Big Impact

Educational outreach will become even more important as we head into the vaccine phases of the pandemic. Plans and providers will also need to continue informing members about tools and benefits the plan already offers, creating more positive touchpoints and improving overall plan-member experience. For example, when the plan reaches out to members proactively, to educate them about cost savings when adjusting their medication refills, they inch closer to that triple-aim for the member and the plan. The member is more likely to adhere to their health goals and benefit from a cost saving, and the plan benefits from member adherence. Providing benefits education proactively gives the plan the opportunity to set up a positive experience for the member right from the start.

Innovation through COVID-19

COVID-19 pushed plans and providers to become more creative and innovative in the way they educate members and provide care delivery. Tools like mail order prescriptions have become more of a norm because it allows members to follow COVID safety protocols while maintaining their care. These newer habits will probably remain post-pandemic. Now that members understand how easy it can be to jump online to see their doctor, CMS quickly lifting those restrictions, and plans beginning to umbrella those costs, members are less likely to fully transition back to pre-pandemic health visit practices. Those practices often included longer wait times, requiring more resources and time from more health care workers, etc. Through all this innovation, plans, providers, and the entire industry will feel pressure to show their adaptation to changing expectations. As adoption of new virtual care platforms, digital therapies, or other tools increases, so will the need to inform members, so will the need to guide them through that adoption, and engage them to keep them connected over the long term.

As we look forward to this new year, it is a good reminder that plans should inform their members about benefits that are available to them in an ongoing, conversational manner. It establishes trust that goes beyond the higher weighted Stars measures. Ongoing communication establishes a trust that builds a long-standing relationship with members, which has proven time and time again to bear the most value for everyone.