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2023 Star Ratings Update: Digital Engagement’s Role in Closing Diabetic Care Gaps

38% of all eligible Medicare Advantage plans saw a decrease in the Diabetes Care – Kidney Disease Monitoring measure performance from 2022 to 2023 Star Ratings. The year 2022 marks the final measurement year for this measure, with Kidney Health Evaluation for Patients with Diabetes (KED) being the proposed replacement. Acknowledging this, plans are uniquely positioned to raise performance scores and improve kidney health for diabetic members using digital health engagement solutions for condition management as they prompt their member populations and provider groups to manage a new measure.

Kidney health evaluation for patients with diabetes

The Kidney Health Evaluation for Patients with Diabetes (KED) is a newer HEDIS® measure that tracks the percentage of adults with diabetes who have been screened annually for kidney disease.

The measure includes two components:

  1. A urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (uACR)
  2. A blood test to determine the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR).

This measure is important because it can screen and diagnose kidney disease, and early detection and treatment can help prevent or slow down its progression.

Interested in closing this gap? Learn more about our Diabetic Screening Solution.

While this change intends to provide a more accurate and comprehensive assessment of a member’s kidney function, preventing downstream complications and risk, it presents a behavior change challenge for Medicare Advantage plans as improved health outcomes also support better Star Rating performance.

One way members could satisfy the previous measure requirement was via a urine test in the comfort of their own homes. Now, they will likely need to visit a lab or their healthcare provider to also complete the blood test, which can be inconvenient, time-consuming, and, sometimes, intimidating, potentially impacting member compliance and overall plan performance. Routine in-clinic lab work requires behavior change that can be nearly impossible to achieve without strategic intervention.

A multichannel engagement solution to activate diabetes patients

Using a multichannel digital engagement solution that leverages tailored conversations intentionally crafted with behavioral science to activate members is proven to empower members to overcome barriers and get tested.

Rooted in neuroscience and psychology, behavioral science uses cutting-edge techniques proven to empower and inspire members to act. As a matter of fact, a leading Medicare Advantage plan saw an 18% lift in members taking action when behavioral science was used in SMS messaging in mPulse programs versus when it was not.

Here are a few examples of behavioral science principles that mPulse incorporates into messaging to inspire member self-efficacy:

  • Social Proof: Highlighting that a member’s peers are undergoing the exam can increase the likelihood that they will schedule their appointment.
  • Loss Aversion: Highlighting the potential negative consequences of not undergoing the exam can motivate members to take action.
  • Default Bias: Making the in-person exam the default option for members can reduce the effort required to schedule the appointment and increase compliance.

Education is critical in activating and empowering members to complete a desired health action. Streaming a captivating piece of healthcare content or even a link to an existing resource can help educate members about why going in-clinic is a better way to monitor their diabetes, driving sustainable behavior change in combination with behavioral science-backed dialogue. That’s why Streaming Content and Instructional Strategy make up one of mPulse Mobile’s proprietary engagement strategy pillars.

Our team of instructional strategists and healthcare industry experts creates compelling learning experiences to close gaps in healthcare inspired by trends from consumer products and aligned with key STARS measures, like Diabetes Care – Kidney Disease Monitoring. Streaming educational health content and messaging are developed alongside thought leaders and industry experts to ensure members feel empowered, inspired, and informed to take action to improve their health and health literacy.

In fact, mPulse observed a 274% increase in retinal eye exam completions when streaming content was used in SMS versus when it was not. Powerful right? The data speaks for itself.

While the addition of a blood test to the Kidney Disease Monitoring measure presents a challenge for plans, an omnichannel digital health engagement solution utilizing behavioral science strategies and streaming content can successfully drive members to receive the necessary care, improve the overall member experience, and improve measure performance. At the end of the day, everybody wins!


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