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Answering the Demand for Consumerism in Healthcare

7 Ways to Meet Healthcare Consumers Online and Boost Your Member Experience

“Healthcare consumerism” – it’s a buzzword heard a lot over the past few years as the healthcare industry has evolved to be more consumer-centric, and all healthcare professionals should know and understand it. Patients are taking a more proactive role in their own health and wellness (long overdue), acting as purchasers and turning to digital solutions for quick and convenient access to healthcare information, products and care. As consumers, they now demand more control and responsibility for selecting the right health plan that best fits their needs and the needs of their families. Once a member, they want relevant and timely information regarding their plan and benefits at their fingertips.

It’s important to ensure health plans are providing the support and resources needed for healthcare consumers to make educated and informed decisions about their health and benefits. 

The first question to ask: what are the key resources to provide?

1. A Digital Front Door

In a recent article, Advisory Board identified four main goals of the digital front door:

  • improve satisfaction with a simplified member experience 
  • expand access to care 
  • optimize resource allocation (often through self-service tools) 
  • reduce unnecessary treatment through better care coordination 

For these reasons, investing in digital front doors should be the highest priority for health plans and other healthcare organizations. Consumers today expect a digital experience in many elements of their lives, and their health is no exception. 

To achieve these goals, health plans can focus on providing digital resources through their portals, such as care team messaging, helpful chatbots, pre- and post-visit or operation educational resources, disease management tools, and online premium payments. The more a member can do online and through their portal, the happier they are as a healthcare consumer.

2. Omnichannel Digital Engagement

Omnichannel engagement strategies are used by successful brands to lure customers, learn about their behaviors, and drive loyalty. They allow brands to create a series of touchpoints and to reach people through their preferred channels. Obsolete methods of communication, such as direct mail, lack personalization and the ability to collect data at scale. 

When healthcare organizations use omnichannel digital engagement, they are able to reach consumers in the way they prefer and provide a more enjoyable member or patient experience. Without an omnichannel communication strategy, it’s impossible to effectively deliver appropriate resources and education to a broad member database.

Want to learn more about omnichannel digital engagement? Download our white paper: From Members to Consumers » 

Below are just a few examples of digital ways to engage and activate more consumers and engage them about impactful topics that have significant impact on the member experience.

  • Interactive voice response (IVR) 
  • Email 
  • Mobile web 
  • Short message service (SMS) 
  • Multimedia message service (MMS) 
  • Rich communication services (RCS) channels

3. Tailored Plan Shopping

Each healthcare consumer has a unique set of needs to be met and features that are important to them when searching for a health plan. Desired monthly premiums, copay and deductible amounts, in-network doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers, chronic illness support, and so much more. Searching through and finding the right health plan based on all of these things can be an overwhelming and complicated process. 

According to the 2023 KFF Survey of Consumer Experience with Health Insurance, nearly one in three adults with Marketplace coverage (31%) found it very or somewhat difficult to compare copays and deductibles under their plan options, and one in four (25%) found it very or somewhat difficult to compare monthly premiums. 

Simplify the plan shopping process through an intuitive questionnaire that gathers information from the consumer that can then be used to present them with the health plan that makes the most sense. Taking the burden off the consumer to do the hard work boosts their confidence in making the right selection and will lead to higher member satisfaction down the road. 

4. Provider Search

Consumers spend a lot of time online researching practices, providers, and more. In fact, more than 3 in 4 patients (77%) look for doctors online often according to Tebra’s 4th annual Patient Perspectives survey. One of the top places patients start looking is their online insurance directories, with 53% of patients saying online insurance directories contribute to their doctor selection decision. 

Providing correct and updated information for all providers, as well relevant search filters such as location, type of provider, gender, language spoken, and whether they are accepting new patients, are helpful in a consumer’s search. The easier you can make it for a member or potential member to find the information they need, the happier they will be with their health plan experience. 

5. Price Transparency Tool

Health plan price transparency tools help consumers know the cost of care or service before seeing a provider. The State of Patient Access 2023, completed by Experian Health, found that: 

  • 65% of patients said they did not receive an estimate prior to care, with 41% of those respondents said final costs were more than expected 
  • 40% of all patient respondents said they were likely to cancel or postpone care without an accurate estimate 
  • 79% of all patient respondents say an accurate estimate helps them better prepare to pay care costs 
  • 88% said receiving a price estimate before care is important 

Not having the cost estimates they need is leading healthcare consumers to defer treatment and avoid the care they need, leading to increased hospitalization and complications from preventable diseases. 

By providing a price transparency tool and giving members the opportunity to access this information before a visit, procedure, or purchase, health plans are giving consumers the ability to make informed decisions that best meet their needs and financial situation and help improve health outcomes. 

From Members to Consumers: How plans are adopting popular digital trends from leading consumer brands to drive better health outcomes » 

6. Easy-to-Understand Member Statements and Benefits Overview

A recent KFF Survey of Consumer Experiences with Health Insurance asked insured adults about how well they understand key aspects of their health insurance. Half (51%) of insured adults say they find at least one aspect of how their insurance works at least somewhat difficult to understand.

 These items caused the most confusion: 

  • What insurance covers – More than one-third (36%) of all insured adults say it is at least somewhat difficult for them to understand what their insurance will and will not cover 
  • Out-of-pocket costs – Thirty percent of insured adults overall say it is difficult for them to understand what they will owe out-of-pocket when they get health care 
  • Explanation of Benefits (EOB) – Three in ten insured adults say they find it difficult to understand whether or how much insurance will pay for care from looking at their EOB 
  • Basic health insurance terminology – A quarter of all insured adults say they have difficulty understanding specific terms, such as “deductible,” “coinsurance,” “prior authorization,” or “allowed amount.” 

Health plans can alleviate this confusion by providing resources that help their members understand their coverage. Through the member portal, plans should show up-to-date information regarding what is available to members with their benefits or even plan discounts, explain and outline their deductible and out-of-pocket maximums in a member-friendly manner, and inform them of their benefit accumulators for both in-network and out-of-network services. Using a built-in glossary to define key terminology can also help members as they sort through the information being presented to them. 

7. Member and Patient Education 

One major factor impacting the member and patient experience is health literacy. With 35% of the adult US population having basic or below basic health literacy, education is vital to ensuring a positive member or patient experience.

To combat the health literacy challenge, the healthcare industry must reimagine what member and patient education looks like. Healthcare consumers are, at the end of the day, simply consumers, and consumers ingest content and information continuously every day from a multitude of sources: short, bite sized videos on social media, streaming services for shows and movies, a large volume of self-produced content, and more.

Taking inspiration from all around us and applying it to member and patient education means engaging with healthcare consumers in the ways they are showing us they like, enjoy, and want. When engaging with members, you can send short, bite sized videos on why getting vaccinated from the flu is important or a full course they can stream to learn about managing their diabetes.

And this type of streaming health content has proven to be an effective method of capturing the health consumer’s attention. One large national plan which partnered with mPulse on digital outreach saw a 274% increase in link clicks to schedule their annual eye exam when this video was utilized vs when no video was sent.

Getting Started

The second question to ask: why should a health plan make the commitment and investment to provide these resources?

Health plans who implement these tools for their members can gain: 

  • Increased member acquisition and retention 
  • Higher member satisfaction 
  • Operational efficiency 
  • Competitive advantage   

How can health plans get started if they already aren’t doing these things? 

Reach out to mPulse to learn more about our product offering and how we can help you answer the demand for healthcare consumerism. Our products are built to provide your members with the resources they need to be educated, informed, and proactive about their health.

Article originally published on healthtrio.com.

mPulse Recognizes Innovative Healthcare Organizations in the Sixth Annual Activate 2023 Awards

mPulse Mobile recently wrapped up its fifth annual Activate conference with the Activate Awards, which provided yet another celebration of healthcare leadership, innovative program design, and improved health outcomes amidst various health engagement challenges.

The theme of Activate2022, The Power of Behavioral Science to Drive Health Action, was reflected throughout the conference with captivating speaker sessions and expert panel discussions. Networking inspired exciting conversation around innovative technology, behavior change design, and consumer experience, and the Activate Awards surely brought those conversations full circle.

The awards help illuminate health plans, health systems, health service providers, PBMs and other types of healthcare organizations that utilized new strategies or unique tools to activate their consumer populations. The companies highlighted each year typically face barriers with engaging a certain population or driving specific health actions, so they search for innovative solutions to tackle those challenges. 

For example, in 2019, CountyCare saw drastic rates of members losing Medicaid coverage, so the managed care organization (MCO) implemented automated text dialogues and saw their Redetermination rates improve by 3.3 percentage points in just one month, subsequently running away with the Most Improved Consumer Experience award. Last year, CareSource incorporated secure surveys, SMS, and streaming video to significantly impact their hard-to-reach members – they won 2021’s Best Use of Conversational A.I.  

The same story is true for this year’s winners.   

The remaining 3 award categories are Achieving Health Equity, Most Innovative Solution and Most Significant Outcome. Like the teamwork and critical thinking generated from breakout workshops and Q&A during the conference, the awards are a celebration of two companies that partnered together to overcome consumer barriers or gaps in care by building uniquely tailored engagement programs. 

Here are the winners of the 2022 Activate Awards: 

Achieving Health Equity

 
Program Goal
Increase Colorectal Cancer Screenings

AltaMed Health Services is one of the largest Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) in the United States and provides a range of health services to Latino, multi-ethnic and underserved communities in Southern California. After seeing a steep drop in colorectal cancer screenings during the COVID-19 pandemic, the health center sought a solution that could help patients overcome barriers like language and lack of awareness of services. 

AltaMed partnered with mPulse to deliver multi-lingual, educational health content to patients using mobile fotonovelas tailored to both males and females who had not completed a screening. Patients received and digested vital communication about getting screened, where to find the nearest screening site, and more through culturally sensitive stories delivered in a familiar format.  

A randomized control study found that 63% of patients who responded to the fotonovelas either liked or loved it, and 39% reported it positively impacted their willingness to act. By educating patients with curated content, AltaMed closed a key screening gap, lifted health literacy and perhaps most importantly – made significant progress toward health equity.

Notable Outcome
Patients that viewed the fotonovelas (19%) were more likely to submit a sample for cancer screening than patients in a control group (11%)

Best Use of Conversational A.I.

 
A Technology-Enabled Health Services Company
 
 
Program Goal 
Promote smoking cessation among teen vapers 

This leading health services organization employs over 210,000 employees globally and utilizes technology-enabled solutions to promote consumer wellness and population health. A major public health problem facing young adults, particularly teens, across the U.S. is the use of e-cigarettes, or vaping. The company sought to promote smoking cessation among teen vapers, a cohort still widely understudied, by implementing intelligent conversational solutions and educational content.

They collaborated with mPulse to build a personalized SMS program, lasting 4-6 months, that leveraged Natural Language Understanding (NLU) to deliver automated, interactive text dialogues to a targeted teen population. Individuals were also provided custom-built streaming health videos that offered tips on quitting and even an option to connect with an SMS coach. 

The use of NLU enabled the delivery of automated messaging based on text responses, which helped the organization direct each individual to the appropriate resource. The program yielded an 85% engagement rate, and ultimately 69% of participating teens completed the program. The key result, that 73% of teens in the program set a date to quit vaping, demonstrates the value in utilizing automated text conversations and on-demand content to promote smoking cessation in vulnerable teens.

Notable Outcome 
73% of participating teens set a quit date
 
 

Check out a new streaming health course for smoking cessation. »

 

Most Improved Consumer Experience

 
CalOptima Health
 
 
Program Goal 
Increase Awareness of SNAP benefits (CalFresh)

CalOptima Health is a County Organized Health System that provides health insurance coverage for low-income children, adults, seniors and people with disabilities. As Orange County’s largest health plan, the organization includes a network of over 10,000 primary care doctors and serves over 900,000 Medi-Cal beneficiaries. The health system looked to address a gap they had identified with low-income families enrolling in the state’s food assistance program, CalFresh, federally known as SNAP.

CalOptima and mPulse partnered to launch a two-way texting campaign, which utilized interactive SMS powered by NLU and tailored to 7 different languages. The health plan addressed language barriers by delivering vital information about CalFresh’s food security benefits to underserved families and Medi-Cal members in their preferred language.  

Through automated text workflows, members could respond in their native language with answers like: “I already have CalFresh” or “I want to apply.” The program has continued to expand, having delivered over 5 million messages in 2022 already. Communicating with members according to their preferences about important CalFresh benefits helped CalOptima both improve consumer experience and reduce food insecurity for an at-risk population.  

 
Notable Outcome 
Over 5 million messages delivered to members in 2022 about CalFresh benefits

Like what you’re reading? Join us next year for Activate2023! Secure your spot now. »

Most Innovative Solution

 
 
Program Goal 
Drive members to schedule a diabetic eye exam

Humana is one of the five largest health plans in the country according to member enrollment and has been partnered with mPulse for over 10 years. With more than 20 million members, including over 5 million Medicare members, the plan looked to close a gap with their members scheduling the annual diabetic eye exam.

The plan worked with mPulse to launch an SMS texting campaign to increase awareness around the importance of the eye exam and to drive members to schedule an exam. The program featured A/B testing, in which one half of members was provided a 30-second streaming health video in the initial message while the other half received only text.  

The educational video enabled a learning experience that was easily accessible and familiar, concluding with a URL for members to learn more about scheduling the eye exam. Humana saw a remarkable 270% increase in clicks to schedule an exam when outreach included the streaming video. The test demonstrates that using streaming health content alongside two-way conversational solutions can significantly help activate hard-to-reach members with diabetes.

Notable Outcome 
270% increase in clicks to schedule a diabetic eye exam when outreach included 30-second streaming video

Most Significant Outcome (tie)

 
A Technology-Enabled Pharmacy Services Company
 
 
Program Goal 
Improve member experience and pharmacy engagement

The leading PBM and pharmacy services company is nationally recognized and fills over 1 billion prescriptions annually for millions of healthcare consumers across the country. With a rapidly growing population, the healthcare leader sought a solution to improve pharmacy patient engagement by utilizing a new communication channel for its home delivery pharmacy and prior authorization programs. 

The pharmacy leader partnered with mPulse to roll out more than 50 outbound-dialer Interactive Voice Response (IVR) campaigns. The IVR messages notified members about prior authorization approvals/denials, refill reminders, shipping details and doctor responses.  

Ultimately, over 5.8 million IVR records were exchanged and the outbound dialer launched over 5.1 million total calls. By offering a new avenue for members to complete a healthy action like ordering medications, the pharmacy enterprise initiated meaningful conversations to help enhance member experience, improve self-service capabilities, and close pharmacy engagement gaps.

Notable Outcome 
Reached over 2.2 million members with 55,000+ members giving SMS consent

Most Significant Outcome (tie)

 
 
Program Goal 
Improve refill adherence for HIV patients 

MetroPlus Health Plan is a subsidiary of NYC Health & Hospitals, the largest municipal health system in the country. The insurance organization serves a diverse group of over 600,000 New York residents across Medicaid Managed Care, Medicare, D-SNP, MLTC and more plan types. A big challenge for the plan was getting HIV patients to refill medications that are pivotal to managing their condition and avoiding complications.

MetroPlus partnered with mPulse to educate the vulnerable population through interactive text messaging about the importance of medication adherence and reducing their  unmedicated days. Texts were delivered one week apart and provided members with vital resources like phone numbers of a pharmacy or a member of the HIV care team.

The plan measured results based on whether or not a patient completed a refill within 7 days of initial outreach. The program yielded a 69% improvement in medication refills when SMS text reminders were deployed, indicating that text nudges inspire self-efficacy and action within this vulnerable population. Through targeted, mobile intervention, MetroPlus helped positively impact medication adherence for over 1,000 patients living with HIV.

Notable Outcome 
69% improvement in medication refills with mPulse text reminders

Health Challenges in 2023

The 6 winners of this year’s Activate Awards showed that even when a new barrier is identified with engaging a population, healthcare organizations must adapt to adhere to their consumers’ needs. Whether utilizing a new communication channel, adding streaming video or incorporating multiple languages, the awards demonstrate that providing healthcare consumers with tailored, learning experiences can significantly impact how they engage with a program. 

As the needs and preferences of healthcare consumers continue to evolve, so too should the capabilities of the healthcare organizations that serve them. Next year’s awards ceremony will surely exhibit a new string of engagement challenges with complex populations and niche use cases – let’s see what type of healthcare innovation surfaces in 2023! 

Avoidable & Unnecessary ER Visits: Emergency Room Diversion Strategies

Using the Emergency Department excessively is the fourth largest financial waste in US healthcare – it costs over $38 billion annually. Emergency departments are overwhelmed, and emergency physicians experience almost three times more burnout than other departments.

Health organizations are under increased scrutiny to lower non-emergent ER visits and implement solutions to encourage health consumers to seek the right level of care. Despite ongoing efforts and initiatives, emergency department overutilization continues to rise yearly.

Understanding and analyzing commonalities in ER utilization will enable deeper insight into how we can begin tackling this issue head-on.

Why do consumers go to the ER when it’s not an emergency?

There are many reasons why health consumers visit the ER. In more ways than not, the emergency department checks several boxes when it comes to convenience:

  • It’s open 24 hours, 7 days a week.
  • It offers patients immediate reassurance regarding their condition or ailment.
  • Patients receive a full range of services regardless of the severity of their condition or whether or not they can afford it.
  • Hospitals have financial and legal obligations to treat patients.

To deter consumers from visiting the ER, alternative care options need to become more accessible and outweigh the convenience of a visit to the ER. Shifting consumer paradigms is easier said than done, and health organizations need to adopt innovative solutions to educate and encourage patients to seek alternative care models.

Further consideration of commonalities in emergency room overutilization offers clues to designing solutions that address the why and offer insight into the how.

Commonalties in Avoidable or Unnecessary ER Visits

ER overuse is a nationwide issue with the highest prevalence among those who are uninsured or enrolled in government health programs, particularly Medicaid.

Nearly 53% of Medicaid members will have an avoidable or unnecessary ER visit this year. Those with health disparities are most likely to have an avoidable ER visit.

Risk factors include

  • being in a lower-income decile,
  • unemployed,
  • living in a single household,
  • less than high school educational attainment,
  • English speaking,
  • aged 27-54 or 65+,
  • limited internet access,
  • divorced or widowed,
  • female,
  • having a disability,
  • having one or more chronic conditions,
  • uninsured or having public health insurance, and
  • having limited or no transportation.

It is important to note that institutionalized and structural inequities cause these commonalities. Collecting data points and creating false attributions is easy; systemic racism and long-standing inequitable distribution of wealth and resources are to blame in this instance. Health organizations are taking responsibility for recreating a system in which diverse populations have greater access to the care and resources they need.

At the end of the day, health equity benefits all of us. Providing equitable opportunities for care availability and resources is foundational in lowering avoidable ER use, and understanding commonalities help address and overcome existing barriers.

The Difference Between Avoidable & Unnecessary ER Visits

There is an important distinction between the terms ‘avoidable’ and ‘unnecessary’ when it comes to the course of action and corresponding interventions needed for ED diversion.

For the purposes of this blog, avoidable ER visits are visits related to unmanaged conditions, such as diabetes or mental health/substance use disorders (MH-SUD). In fact, nearly 60% of all ER visits are from people with one or more unmanaged chronic conditions, with these individuals also having higher rates of ED recidivism.

Unnecessary ED visits are often due to a lack of accessibility and educational resources and typically account for visits that are urgent care or primary care treatable.

The top four ER diagnoses, in order, are as follows:

  1. Abdominal pain and digestive issues,
  2. Upper respiratory infections,
  3. Minor injuries, and
  4. Sprains.

Both avoidable and unnecessary ED visits require intervention; however, the methodologies and approaches vary. Healthcare isn’t one-size-fits-all, and meaningful behavior change requires personalization dependent on each consumer’s unique needs, preferences, and health status.

ER Diversion Strategies

Understanding why consumers seek care at emergency departments, coupled with commonalities in ER utilization, provides a deeper understanding of what’s needed to help support and educate consumers in seeking the right care for their health needs. The right education and support also depend on whether the ER visit is avoidable or unnecessary.

Education

Meaningful education incorporates behavioral science principles to motivate and empower behavior change. Simply telling a consumer they shouldn’t go to the ER unless they have to won’t work. Engaging with consumers in frictionless and meaningful ways requires expertise.

mPulse Mobile’s in-house instructional strategists, behavioral scientists, and health equity researchers develop cinematic streaming content experiences designed for optimal behavior change. Short-form content is designed to be relatable and educational, enabling consumers to realize the benefits of seeking alternative care.

See an example animation below.

Want to learn more about how streaming health content can drive behavior change? Download the complete guide »

Accessibility & Convenience

Providing personalized resources and support through frictionless calls to action will promote the utilization of better care options. Many health plans have resources available such as ride-share services and telehealth or nurse line providers for non-emergent cases. Despite these resources, utilization remains low, primarily due to a lack of awareness that they exist.

Engaging with members through an omnichannel approach, such as SMS, Email, and/or IVR, enables health organizations to meet their consumers where they’re at frictionlessly while providing accessible links to resources and support at their fingertips. When health organizations leverage innovative technology as a vehicle of communication with their consumers, engagement rates rise along with better health outcomes.

Avoidable ER Visits: Condition Management Solutions

Reducing avoidable ER visits begins with creating and maintaining meaningful relationships with health consumers. Because one size doesn’t fit all, understanding each consumer’s needs and preferences and their conditions and health status are crucial. mPulse Mobile creates individual member profiles in which each consumer’s protected data is leveraged to send tailored and relevant cadenced touchpoints. This becomes increasingly important for better condition management and medication nonadherence, accounting for billions in avoidable ER spending.

mPulse Mobile provides integrated and meaningful solutions for condition management, such as hypertension and diabetes, as well as MH-SUD and routine appointment reminders and scheduling.

Our solutions leverage an omnichannel engagement approach incorporating conversational AI and streaming content to educate and empower members to own their health while adopting healthier behaviors, including:

  • eating better and exercising,
  • regularly communicating with their care team, and
  • taking their medications as prescribed.

Educating consumers on where to seek the right level of care and providing resources and support are critical components of ED Diversion, but understanding individual consumer health needs and support will help health organizations reduce avoidable and unnecessary ER visits.

Visit mPulse’s condition management solutions to learn more »

mPulse Case Study

One of the nation’s leading health plans partnered with mPulse Mobile to lower unnecessary ER visits and redirect members to better, more affordable care options.

Goals & Execution: Automate and optimize digital communications to members using SMS text messages to redirect members identified as high-utilizers of the ER and provide meaningful messages and streaming content to redirect them to more appropriate levels of care.

A population analysis was performed to assess the intervention impact for members outreached. SMS messaging was deployed to engage and educate members to seek the right level of care for their health needs. A group of approximately 12,000 high-utilizers were enrolled in the program.

Results: 69.7% reduction in ER visits. Before outreach, there were nearly 19,000 total ER visits. Post outreach, that number decreased to under 5,700 visits. Assuming the average ER visit cost is $1,082, the program saved over $14 million in health plan and consumer savings during the program’s duration.

In Conclusion

Health organizations are uniquely positioned to engage meaningfully with their members and patients and have invested time, money, and resources into providing services conducive to bettering health outcomes.

mPulse Mobile is the leader in innovative digital engagement solutions and partners with 200+ leading health organizations to deploy over 1 billion conversations annually to inform, educate and tailor conversational engagement designed for health action across diverse populations.

 

To learn more about how mPulse Mobile can lower avoidable and unnecessary ER visits, lower costs, and improve health outcomes for your consumers, contact us to schedule a consultation.

mPulse Mobile Achieves Strong YoY Revenue Growth in Q2 2023 Driven by Outcomes-Driven Engagement Solutions

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–mPulse Mobile, a leader in conversational AI and digital engagement solutions for the healthcare industry, today announced strong momentum in Q2 2023, with 159% new revenue growth over the prior year (Q2 2022) and over 80 million unique health consumers engaged through its SMS programs in Q2 2023. The company also announced the launch of its Emergency Department Diversion solution aimed at addressing overuse of the ED to reduce costs and help members access appropriate channels of care.

Value Based Care and Emergency Department Use

Value based care (VBC) strategies require a high level of member engagement, proactive outreach, and seamless coordination of care to scale across diverse populations and drive a successful business model. mPulse is supporting the needs of VBC organizations such as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and managed services providers by deploying Conversational AI solutions that integrate streaming content to educate members and drive better health behaviors.

Reducing inappropriate or overuse of the Emergency Department (ED) offers a key opportunity to improve the performance of value based care plans. Today, mPulse announced the launch of its Emergency Department Diversion solution, which targets large populations and “high utilizers” to adopt more efficient and appropriate care channels. The solution is an optimized version of in-market programs, which have already reduced improper Emergency Department use by almost 70% and directed 60% of patients to visit their primary care provider (PCP) instead of the ED.

Medicaid Continuous Enrollment

As individual states manage the resumption of Medicaid re-enrollment, mPulse is supporting 24 health plans with omnichannel digital engagement that activates members to complete the redetermination process. Recently reported data shows procedural disenrollments account for 75% of beneficiaries losing coverage. This highlights the importance of providing support to individuals to help overcome barriers and connect them to appropriate resources. mPulse has leveraged its Redetermination Solution across SMS, IVR and email channels and launched over 110 tailored Redetermination engagement programs to over 7 million Medicaid beneficiaries at risk of losing coverage. mPulse’s solution uses conversational AI to generate engagement rates in excess of 30% by automatically interpreting member’s responses, aligning with language preferences and integrating high-impact streaming content into the outreach. Historically, mPulse’s redetermination outreach solutions have driven 42% increases in redetermination rates and a 93% completion rate after engaging with the program.

mPulse Recognized by Gartner® in Multiple Categories

mPulse was recognized by Gartner in its July 2023 report, “Hype Cycle™ for U.S. Healthcare Payers, 2023” as a Sample Vendor in two categories identified as having transformational benefit rating: Consumer-Centric Health Products and Community Resource Network Management (CRNM). Both categories are forecast to have a transformational impact and mainstream market adoption within a two- to five-year time horizon.

In addition, mPulse was mentioned in a new July 2023 Hype Cycle report, “Hype Cycle for Consumer Engagement and Experience in Healthcare and Life Sciences, 2023.” We believe its mention in this report demonstrates mPulse’s growing presence in the life sciences market segment, as its engagement solution increases in adoption to help support clinical trial engagement and participant retention over time.

“Through our extensive partnerships across the healthcare ecosystem, we are closely attuned to the needs of leading healthcare organizations, which continue to seek innovative technologies to support core business strategies,” said Bob Farrell, CEO of mPulse Mobile. “The innovative health plans we work with recognize the need for technology-driven member engagement that go beyond what traditional outreach can offer, and our flexible conversational AI and digital engagement solutions move the needle for their value based care goals, even among the hardest to reach populations. We feel both our customers’ results and our recognition by Gartner in key technology categories illustrate mPulse’s ability to deliver lasting improvements in the consumer health experience and member outcomes.”

To provide a forum to discuss trends in digital engagement across the healthcare industry, mPulse Mobile is hosting the Activate2023 conference September 27-28, 2023 and today announces new speakers, including Dr. Reed Tuckson, a physician and public health research advocate, and Craig Kennedy, President & CEO of Medicaid Health Plans of America (MHPA). The full agenda and registration page can be found at https://go.mpulse.com/activate2023.

How to Engage and Retain Patients in Clinical Trials

When it comes to clinical trials, the stakes are high. It can take 10 to 15 years or longer to complete all 3 phases before licensing, and global spending on trials is expected to reach nearly $69 billion by 2025.

It’s no secret that patient drop-out is among the leading causes of delays in the timeline and a huge expense. On average, 30% of patients drop out of clinical trials, and the cost to replace a lost patient averages $19,533. The costs of lost data, time, and resources are even higher.

Retaining patients in clinical trials requires a patient-centric approach. By analyzing patient preferences and ensuring these preferences are an integral part of your engagement strategy, you can improve patient engagement in clinical trials.

To understand how to retain patients in clinical trials, we need to take a closer look at why they leave. The biggest culprits are often related to lack of communication and clarity. Often, when patients need help understanding their role, are confused about the trial or process, or are anxious about what to expect during each stage of the trial journey, they’re at a higher risk of dropping out. Unfortunately, patients often feel like subjects rather than an integral part of the research team. Engaging patients by keeping them informed and involved throughout the trial is essential, in addition to communicating with them in the ways they prefer.

The question is: how do people prefer to engage today?

Successful digital strategies for patient retention in clinical trials

We can draw valuable insights from leading digital brands known for their high user engagement to improve patient retention in clinical trials and strengthen patient engagement.

For instance, Amazon’s model of using browsing and purchasing data to provide personalized recommendations can be mirrored to tailor experiences for each patient in clinical trials. Similarly, how social networks like Facebook and Twitter foster connections and content sharing can inspire strategies to facilitate patient connection and communication in clinical trials. Additionally, the personalized content curation model used by streaming giants like Netflix, tailored to individual viewing preferences, can be adapted to create more personalized and engaging experiences for patients. By implementing these proven digital engagement trends and preferences, we can effectively meet patients where they are, engaging them in ways that resonate with their daily digital interactions, thus enhancing how to retain patients in clinical trials and fostering effective patient engagement.

In a perception and insights study conducted by CISCRP

Clinical trial participants were surveyed to uncover clinical trial preferences.

Participants were asked how helpful technology was throughout the clinical trial.

These were the top 3 identified as most helpful:

  1. Text Messaging
  2. Video conferencing as an option to meet with the study doctor
  3. Smartphone apps for study data collection and support services

This study highlights the need to interact with and engage patients digitally. Digital communication enables researchers to scale their time and collect data more efficiently. Using SMS texting to provide patients with timely reminders, check-ins, and updates helps hold patients accountable. It encourages them to adhere to the study’s regime while staying updated on their progress.

mPulse Mobile leverages conversation AI and Natural Language Understanding (NLU)

To send tailored text messages designed to engage and motivate patients over time. Our conversations are empathic, inclusive, and multilingual for equitable health engagement and incorporate behavioral science techniques to empower patients to act. In addition to SMS, we offer IVR and email communication channels. By understanding your patient population, we can further enhance and tailor conversations to feel highly relevant and deliver the right support and information throughout the clinical trial.

In the same perception and insights study conducted by CISCRP, clinical trial participants were asked,

“If you were to participate in a clinical research study, how important are the following to your participation?”

The top 5 areas participants ranked as most important:

  1. Being provided with supporting information on managing my health condition in general
  2. Being provided with supporting information on the clinical research study
  3. Being provided the opportunity to complete a satisfaction survey on your clinical research study experience to provide feedback
  4. Supportive Services
  5. Availability of mobile applications

Providing an online destination for patients to access information about their condition and the study, connect with other patients, complete surveys and questionnaires, ask questions, and receive additional support ticks all the boxes.

mPulse Mobile curates white-labeled learning destinations customized to each patient. We partner with leading health organizations to curate cinematic health content designed to build self-efficacy. Content features various expert-led videos, animations, polls, assessments and surveys, discussion boards, resources, and custom calls to action.

Patients can complete daily diaries, learn more about their condition, and engage with the research team in a single destination. All data is captured on the back end and is available via a real-time dashboard with EDC integration options. Our learning destinations have an average 70-minute engagement time per patient per session and are proven to sustain engagement over time.

mPulse can link patients directly to videos, polls, or diary logs within the learning destination to provide a seamless UX to education, support, and activities. In addition to learning destinations, mPulse offers short-form content that can be sent via email or SMS with customizable CTAs.

How to improve patient retention in clinical trials with mPulse Mobile

mPulse Mobile is at the forefront of enhancing digital engagement in healthcare, offering industry-leading solutions that blend conversational AI with integrated streaming content. Our innovative approach is trusted by over 200 health organizations, personalizing more than 1 billion conversations annually.

mPulse Mobile’s technology is geared towards improving business efficiencies and health outcomes and plays a significant role in retaining patients in clinical trials. We make a difference one person at a time by fostering a more equitable and healthier world.

Discover how mPulse can revolutionize your patient retention strategy in clinical trials by contacting us.

Improving Maternal Health Outcomes with Digital Trends

Despite having a highly advanced healthcare system, the U.S. faces a concerning reality as it records the highest rate of pregnancy-related deaths among developed countries. Alarmingly, the maternal mortality rate surged by 40% in 2021 compared to the previous year. While part of this increase can be linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important to note that maternal mortality rates were already on an upward trend even before the pandemic struck.

Up to 60% of pregnancy-related deaths and adverse maternal health disparities in the U.S. can be prevented by

Proper preventive and continuity of both prenatal and postpartum care are imperative, and health organizations play a foundational role in improving maternal health disparities for our nation.

In an era where technology is pivotal in improving maternal healthcare outcomes, conversational AI in healthcare emerges as a key player. As the U.S. grapples with rising maternal mortality rates, integrating advanced conversational AI into healthcare strategies offers hope. This innovative technology can significantly improve maternal health outcomes by providing timely, personalized, accessible support to expectant and new mothers.

Our conversational AI solutions are designed to bridge the gaps in maternal healthcare inequalities, offering tailored guidance and vital information that can make a real difference in the lives of women during their pregnancy and postpartum journey.

In this article, we explore the transformative potential of conversational AI in improving maternal health disparities and reducing the alarming rates of pregnancy-related complications in the U.S.

The role of healthcare communication technology

Organizations continually lean on digital trends in an increasingly technology-driven world to drive growth and business efficiencies. 97% of U.S. adults own a mobile phone, and with generative AI platforms such as ChatGTP and social media AI photo filters becoming mainstream, we’re beginning to see the power and potential of healthcare communication technology.

But how does this tie into health organizations and maternal health? 

A lot more than you may think. mPulse Mobile has harnessed innovative technology and digital trends and applied them to the healthcare landscape to educate and empower health consumers to take action. We continually deliver best-in-class health outcomes by borrowing inspiration from the world’s most innovative digital trends. We create highly relevant and engaging digital health solutions experiences through:

  • Technology’s leading trends,
  • in-house learning and design experts, and
  • access to rich data and population insights

Our solution to prenatal and postpartum care leverages this expertise. It tackles the challenges associated with our nation’s poor maternal health outcomes, opening doors to accessibility, catering to care preferences, and building knowledge.

Maximizing mobile outreach with conversational AI to enhance maternal healthcare accessibility

conversational ai example for maternal health resourcesWe know 97% of American adults own a mobile phone, so leveraging this communication channel to reach more consumers is a great place to start. Scaling this resource requires automation, and to avoid abrasion, we lean on conversational AI and Natural Language Understanding (NLU) to direct consumers to the right tools and resources.

Step-by-Step Process to Enhance Maternal Healthcare Accessibility:

  1. Identify Nearby ObGyns and Clinics: Automatically send pregnant members a list of the closest ObGyns and clinics based on their residential location.
  2. Provide Easy Scheduling Options: Include a phone number for members to call and schedule their appointments easily.
  3. Recognize and Respond to Barriers: Utilize Natural Language Understanding (NLU) to detect if a member mentions a lack of access to reliable transportation.
  4. Offer Solutions for Transportation Barriers: In cases where transportation issues are identified, automatically respond with information about available resources that offer low or no-cost transportation options.
  5. Simplify Appointment Setting: Ensure the entire process, from providing information to addressing barriers, is streamlined to facilitate quick and easy appointment scheduling for members.

Addressing maternal health disparities with culturally competent and personalized solutions

conversational ai example relevant and relatable

The disparities in maternal health outcomes and the lack of representation and consideration for consumers who are disadvantaged by our health system are undoubtable and require prioritization. mPulse Mobile is committed to helping reduce maternal health disparities and inequalities by designing our programs to be relevant, relatable and address the needs and preferences of diverse communities.

Our pregnancy solution is culturally competent, with multilingual messaging, NLU tailoring, and inclusive replies and opt-outs (miscarriage opt-out, not saying “pregnant women”). For SDoH-level data, we factor in zip codes to deliver relevant resource links and inclusive visual and streaming content representation. To create a personalized and relevant experience throughout, the member’s due date is used to provide timely information, and custom keys (name, provider name, etc.) further enhance personalization.

How we leverage digital trends for enhanced maternal health education

Information sharing and access to the news today are more broadly available thanks to smart devices and the internet. With Americans spending an average of 1,300 hours each year on social networking platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, it’s critical to derive inspiration from these platforms to maximize engagement and remove friction.

More than 50% of expectant Americans download and use pregnancy-related apps for educational resources and pregnancy-related updates. Health organizations are perfectly positioned to harness these trends and provide a frictionless experience to expectant consumers to engage and deliver the right education and resources, close care gaps, and gather rich population insights.

mPulse Mobile’s prenatal and postpartum solution uses a combination of expert-led videos from Dr. Christine Noa Sterling, board-certified ObGyn, interactive modules, and short stories and animations to educate and empower members around key milestones related to their and their baby’s health.

Content is sent via SMS at key moments based on each consumer’s due date, encouraging them to schedule routine appointments and make healthier choices.

Our in-house behavioral scientists and instructional strategists leverage learning theory and high-quality cinematography and animation to produce content designed to drive action. See for yourself.

Overview of mPulse Mobile’s prenatal and postpartum solution

mPulse’s prenatal and postpartum solution

mPulse Mobile’s pregnancy solution is a 12+ month interactive SMS program designed to improve quality performance and deliver better health outcomes.

The solution specifically targets multiple HEDIS® measures and is proven to engage and deliver outcomes such as a 2X engagement rate with maternity care management services, a 7.1pp increase in the prenatal and postpartum care measure (PPC) owned by NCQA, and 61% engagement across 400,000 Medicaid members. By incorporating our behavior change methodology throughout all conversations and streaming content, our comprehensive approach broadens access, caters to individual preferences, and educates to improve health outcomes at scale.

How Combining Conversational AI and Visual Stories Can Increase Colorectal Cancer Screenings

In today’s world of information overload, capturing health plan members’ attention and encouraging them to take preventive health measures isn’t easy. It’s even more challenging when members are experiencing health disparities due to race, ethnicity, socioeconomic factors, and other social determinants of health. To address this challenge, mPulse Mobile created an innovative way to encourage members to get screened for colorectal cancer.

Specifically, mPulse’s approach combines text messages powered by conversational AI with visual storytelling to address misconceptions, raise awareness, model healthy behaviors, add an element of humor, and build overall health literacy.

To evaluate the clinical value of this approach, mPulse and The AltaMed Institute for Health Equity partnered to research the impact of text messages and fotonovelas on encouraging colorectal cancer screenings with socially vulnerable groups. They conducted a study to determine whether members were more likely to get screened after receiving

  • A series of bidirectional texts that tailor responses to address individual screening barriers, and
  • Fotonovelas or illustrated comic strips that tell a story explaining the importance of early detection and encouraging screenings.

An important motivation was to use culturally relevant messaging to engage these groups and to measure whether it could yield improvements in outcomes equitably across populations.

Evaluators at the Center for Community Health and Evaluation (CCHE), part of the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute, independently evaluated the intervention. The results, recently published in JMIR Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal focusing on innovation and technology in cancer care and research, were very positive: nearly 40 percent of patients who received texts and fotonovelas responded, and they had significantly higher screening rates than those who did not receive the texts and fotonovelas.

The program was developed by mPulse and combined interactive text messages and fotonovelas to educate and activate patients throughout the four-week outreach. When patients shared their reasons for not completing the screening, the conversational AI platform provided relevant automated responses to address these barriers and to influence their health beliefs and behavior.

A Closer Look at Colorectal Cancer

Colorectal cancer is the second-leading cause of cancer death in the US, accounting for an estimated 151,030 new cases and 52,580 deaths in 2022. With appropriate screening, however, it is mostly preventable and can be treated successfully when localized and diagnosed early. Indeed, the five-year relative survival rate for localized colorectal cancer is more than 90%.  

Several screening tests can be used to find polyps or colorectal cancer, including an at-home stool test known as the fecal immunochemical test (FIT) which uses antibodies to detect blood in the stool. Upon completing the test, the patient mails it back to the health plan.

Barriers to Screening

A key step in improving screening rates is understanding why patients don’t get screened.

Studies have identified several potential barriers, including feeling fine and not understanding the need for the test, being busy or forgetful, expressing fear about what the test may indicate, the potential risk of perforation, embarrassment about a fecal collection procedure, concerns about mailing fecal matter, mistrust of the healthcare system, and the cost of follow‐up colonoscopy. Limited health literacy is another stumbling block, particularly when combined with cultural health beliefs and linguistic barriers.

The barriers impacting different populations vary which contributes to differences in screening rates and cancer diagnoses. For example, researchers report that Hispanics have significantly lower rates of screening for colorectal cancer than non-Hispanic Whites, and are more likely to be diagnosed with advanced disease.

The Study

AltaMed, the largest federally qualified community health center (FQHC) in California, and one of the largest nonprofit FQHCs in the nation, serves approximately 300,000 patients across Southern California and routinely mails out FIT kits to patients due for colorectal screening.

As part of usual care, about 11,000 patients who were due for a screening received a text message with a link to an instructional video, a follow-up text reminder, and a call from a patient navigator within a month if they still hadn’t returned the FIT kit.

Three months after the kits were mailed, 5,241 patients, age 50-75 years, had not returned the FIT kit and they were randomized into two groups for the study: the intervention group which received additional outreach (texts and fotonovela over four weeks), and the control group (no additional outreach).

A majority of patients in the intervention group were Hispanic or Latin American. mPulse has developed an index to map social determinants of health (SDOH) impact levels (using several census variables) and over 75% of patients in the study were living in neighborhoods where SDOH might negatively impact health access and health equity, resulting in health disparities.

The texts and fotonovelas were designed and implemented by mPulse to educate, remind, and encourage patients to return their FIT kit. All text messages were in patients’ preferred language, either English or Spanish, and written at a sixth-grade reading level or lower. 

In the first week, the texts focused on building health literacy about colon cancer and screenings, and the purpose of the FIT kit. Week two texts sought to uncover barriers by asking why the patient hadn’t yet taken the test. The next week gathered feedback on the fotonovela and its impact on health beliefs and behaviors; and the last week was a final reminder to mail back the kit.

If patients replied to the texts, the conversational AI used natural language understanding (NLU) to “listen” for known barriers and other expected replies and provided automated responses to create logical conversation flows.

Conversational AI

Patients could text back in their own words, and their responses were handled using rules and conversational AI. This was also an opportunity to build health literacy and raise awareness about the need to get screened regularly. Here is a sample conversation:

Patient’s reply:

“I don’t know why I need the test; I feel fine and have no symptoms.”

Automated response:

“It turns out most people with colon cancer feel healthy and have no symptoms. And most people with colon cancer also have no family history of the disease. This is a quick and easy way to find out if there are any problems.”

Similarly, if a patient replied, “I’m worried about getting COVID-19 if I come into the clinic”, the system was listening for COVID anxiety and would respond immediately by reassuring the patient using conversational AI.

The automated response was: “You don’t need to come into the clinic right now. Just mail back the FIT colon health test kit that we sent you in the mail. If the results are abnormal, somebody from AltaMed will contact you. Don’t let your worries about coronavirus get in the way of completing the test. It’s quick and easy!”

Thus, patients received timely and relevant information as part of a meaningful back-and-forth dialogue in real time.

Fotonovelas

The fotonovelas were created to address barriers such as procrastination, lack of self-care, lack of time, embarrassment about the process, and fear of results. They were developed in Spanish and English, in collaboration with the AltaMed Institute for Health Equity, and there were separate versions for men and women.

To ensure that the fotonovelas were compelling, the storyline used characters who were 50–75-year-old Hispanic or Latino patients and who looked and talked like they could be the patient’s best friend or neighbor. And the fotonovelas reflected the central role of family in the Latino community by emphasizing that the characters were getting screened not just for their own health, but for the sake of their loved ones as well. All fotonovelas also contained a call to action for patients to use and return the kit. Sample frames are shown below for the English versions (there were 9 frames in each fotonovela). The second fotonovela can be viewed in full in the JMIR Cancer publication.

Want to learn more about how stories can change behavior? Watch the on-demand webinar, Stories That Move »

Results

Approximately 40% of the patients engaged with the text messages (1,026 patients responded to at least one text out of the 2,597 patients in the intervention group). This is considerably higher than the typical engagement rate with screening reminders. Interestingly, patients who did engage were quick to respond and 86.1% of those who engaged did so within an hour of receiving a text. Of the patients who engaged, 31% clicked on the link to view the fotonovela.

Most importantly, there was a statistically significant 7 percentage point difference in screening: 18.8% of patients in the intervention group were screened, compared with 11.6% of those in the control group.

Social Determinants of Health and Health Equity

A central consideration in the study was to understand whether culturally tailored text messages and fotonovelas could drive behavior change in patients experiencing disparities due to sociodemographic and social determinants of health factors such as race, ethnicity, income, cultural linguistic barriers, and geography.  The results suggest that layering text and visual modalities was particularly effective, with these subgroups showing higher screening rates than the group average. Spanish speakers in the intervention group had an 8.2 percentage point improvement in screening rates (compared to a 5.7 percentage point improvement among English speakers). Similarly, patients in very high need areas and high need areas based on SDOH had an 8.5 percentage point improvement and 7.2 improvement in screening rates respectively (compared to a 2 percentage point improvement in very low need areas). Finally, among those who had never been screened for colon cancer, there was a 6 percentage point improvement in screening rates.

Bringing it All Together: The Impact of Conversational AI and Fotonovelas

Most patients who engaged with the text messages, fotonovelas, and conversational AI had positive or neutral responses and there were very few negative responses. This study underscores how the combination of text, images and tailored responses can help health plans build health literacy and influence health beliefs and behavior in an innovative and culturally relevant way, while achieving positive clinical results. Looking ahead, the mobile health solution in this study provides a robust and replicable model to uncover and address barriers to screening and to improve colorectal screening rates, particularly for disparate and socially vulnerable populations. Increasing the number of screened patients typically leads to more early detection of colorectal cancer, which in turn, can save lives.

The author, Rena Brar Prayaga, is an Impact Tech Advocate and a Behavioral Data Scientist. She is also an Advisor at mPulse Mobile, and a co-author of the study published in JMIR Cancer.

Delivering Equitable Health Experiences Among Medicaid Populations

Earlier this month, four of mPulse Mobile’s best and brightest subject matter experts packed up and headed to sunny Florida to attend The Strategic Solution Network’s (SSN) 14th Annual Medicaid Innovations Forum. A huge topic of conversation was, not surprisingly, the FCC’s Declaratory Ruling on phone outreach for redetermination. Released in late January, this ruling opened the door for plans to utilize texting in their efforts to maintain coverage for millions of Medicaid members. 

Texting, however, has always been a big topic of conversation for us. 97% of US adults own a cell phone, and it seems everywhere you go people are glued to their devices. That is what makes SMS texting such an incredibly effective tool to add into your mix of channels. We spoke about just that during our session at the conference. 

Healthcare Experiences Powered by Technology

For that session, Reva Sheehan, mPulse Mobile’s Senior Director of Customer Insights, had the opportunity to present onstage with Sammie Turner, Quality HEDIS Manager for Maryland Physician’s Care. Maryland Physicians Care, a customer of mPulse Mobile and the third largest Managed Care Organization in the state of Maryland, administers healthcare services to Maryland’s HealthChoice enrollees. 

Maryland Physicians Care and mPulse partnered together to deploy a two-way SMS text campaign targeting multiple preventative care screenings, including Breast Cancer Screenings, Well-Child Visits, SSI, and Lead Screening in Children, and we delivered the results of that program to the audience.  

With reach rates ranging from 83% to 95%, we were able to target and communicate with thousands of their customers. The main metric we wanted to observe, however, was the success of texting compared to outbound calls. Is texting a more effective method of outreach to obtain scheduled appointments?

We focused on breast cancer screenings and found strong evidence that it was. After 30 days of outbound calls, 123 breast cancer screenings were scheduled. But with the texting program, we found that we were able to schedule 94 screenings in just four days.  

The texting program was able to get 76% of the screenings scheduled that outbound calling did in just a fraction of the amount of time and did so without the manual work of call center representatives. 

But why is this so? How is texting, which may seem less personal, able to have so much success so quickly?

Three Core Capabilities for Texting Outreach

Texting allows us to reach a large population in a single event and assists in reducing the volume of outbound calls and or letters. If you have the right technology powering your texting program, however, it turns into more than just a text but into a dynamic two-way conversation that can be used to connect with a member, break down barriers to healthcare, and deliver better outcomes.  

There are three core components that enabled this experience for Maryland Physicians Care’s members: two-way text capabilities, natural language understanding, and educational content. 

Two-way Conversations Identify and Address Barriers to Care 

When you have dynamic, interactive conversations with your members, you truly address the barriers they face when trying to get care. Lack of transportation, inability to get time off work, cost, and other factors all play a role in creating an inequitable health experience.

When a plan has the technology to have a real conversation with its members at scale, it can not only identify the reasons members aren’t scheduling screenings, but it can take it a step further to provide solutions and education for the member, such as helping them find a doctor like you see in the example below from Maryland Physicians Care’s program. When the door for care is opened a bit wider for one person, it makes the healthcare system a little bit more equitable for all.

Interested in these capabilities? Learn how these same concepts can be applied to outreach around the end of continuous enrollment » 

Natural Language Understanding and Culturally Appropriate Content 

Natural Language Understanding (NLU), a type of artificial intelligence, is the ability for our system to interpret the responses from the member (even if they are non-standard responses or slang) and respond back in an intelligent manner. mPule Mobile’s NLU is available in 7 languages with translation services for 13.  

One example of NLU in Maryland Physicians Care’s program focuses on creating a more culturally sensitive experience. For this program, the two-way SMS content automatically converted from English to Spanish if the member responded in Spanish. Their language preferences were then reported back to the plan for future interactions. The ability to communicate with your health plan in the language that you are most comfortable with makes it much more likely that they’ll keep communicating and take the desired action.

Leveraging Educational Content to Promote Health Literacy 

One thing we all know is how vital health literacy is to the concept of health equity. The ability to understand not only the care system, but your own body and healthcare needs is critical.  

Videos can leverage educational content to help overcome barriers and inspire action by delivering bite-sized stories and entertainment straight to the member’s phone during a text exchange. The below example was used for a diabetes eye exam program run with a large national health plan. There was a 274% increase in link clicks to scheduling when this video was used in the text outreach vs when it wasn’t.

Equitable Healthcare for All 

The dynamic conversational engagement used by Maryland Physicians Care enabled them to reach more members and deliver tailored resources and calls-to-action to empower members to act and deliver better outcomes at scale. When each member has the opportunity for a personalized and relevant conversation about their health with their plan, they’re receiving a more equitable experience.  

Interested in these capabilities for a redetermination program? Learn how these same concepts can be applied to outreach around the end of continuous enrollment!

mPulse Expands Streaming Engagement Capabilities for Consumer-Focused Digital Health Content

mPulse Mobile announced today the launch of new content capabilities and streaming courses that address health literacy barriers in a consumer-friendly format.

Several solution advances continue mPulse’s focus on integrating streaming content into digital health engagement strategies, creating an industry-leading combination of conversational AI that drives two-way SMS messaging campaigns and powerful health streaming content to engage, delight, and move consumers to adopt healthy behaviors. New capabilities include “Stories” Videos and Health Educational Courses.

“Stories” Video Format

mPulse launched the stories video format to deliver more impactful content experiences in consumer-focused outreach programs. The format adapts video “stories” commonly seen in social media platforms like TikTok and Instagram Reels to deliver captivating content on important healthcare topics. 

New Health Educational Courses

mPulse has also launched new streaming health courses that address key health issues and improve health literacy in a consumer-friendly digital format. Produced with proven learning techniques and behavioral science, these courses allow healthcare organizations to extend the digital experience from initial outreach to deep, relationship-building experiences.

Read the full press release »

Closing Gaps in Care: What Key Strategies Should Plans Consider?

$7 billion is saved annually from preventive health services, yet only 8% of Americans are attending all recommended preventive care visits. In a perfect world where all Americans received the preventive care they need, we’d be saving over $87 billion annually.

Diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer cause 7 in 10 American deaths every year and account for 75% of the nation’s health spending. It’s forecasted that by 2030 the United States will spend $6.8 trillion on healthcare annually.

Health plans are deeply familiar with the value of preventive care and continually invest time and money into programs and services that are designed to activate their members to attend important visits. Unfortunately, preventive screenings and care access plummeted throughout the pandemic and as a result, have become an even more important focus area going into 2023.

How do you solve the challenge?

Throwing money at a one-size-fits-all approach won’t move the needle. Your members are complex human beings with unique differences that require health engagement solutions that address their individual needs and preferences. Investing in a tailored gaps in care solution that helps target, identify, educate, and address each member’s barriers and preferences will yield better health outcomes at scale.

We’ve curated a checklist of key considerations that should be consulted when needing to close care gaps and achieve better health outcomes.

1. Implement a Frictionless Communication Approach 

No two members are the same and how we communicate with each member should reflect that understanding. Building solutions that leverage an omnichannel approach enables you to reach more members in the ways they prefer. A study from 2021 found 85% of members prefer receiving text message updates from their health plan and providers compared to email, phone calls, or portal messages. On top of awareness, building motivation is just as critical.

Enter Behavioral Science. Behavioral Science uses principles from neuroscience, psychology, and economics to encourage and empower members to act. By embedding these scientifically proven techniques within member communications and outreach, you’ll see improved compelling outcomes for preventive care visit completions.

Interested in seeing the impact behavioral science can have on your members? Watch the webinar series, Frictionless Healthcare, on-demand now »

Case Study: Over 5,000 New Preventative Screenings Completed

A leading Medicaid MCO partnered with mPulse Mobile to improve screening rates by enhancing previous outreach methods (mail, phone, and paid advertisements) with the addition of SMS text messaging. The program was run in both English and Spanish translation, using a combination of powerful behavioral science techniques and rewards incentives to drive members to attend needed screenings while uncovering and addressing key barriers such as transportation assistance, live agent scheduling support, and more.

As a result, 48% of targeted members completed their screenings. A prior opt-in approach enabled reach rates to exceed 80%.

2. Build Health Literacy

While creating awareness is the first step, educating members on why screenings are important, and helping them feel prepared for their visit is equally as vital. Think about it: if you don’t understand why you need to go to the doctor for something that doesn’t feel like it’s an issue, why would you spend the time and energy voluntarily going to that appointment? Providing members with educational tools designed to build knowledge and confidence will increase the likelihood that they’ll take action.

Read all about the power of education in our newly released guide, 6 Innovations in Streaming Health Content to Improve Member Experience »

Case Study: Streaming Health Education Triples Engagement

In partnership with a leading Medicare Advantage plan, mPulse Mobile launched an A/B testing program that sent messaging to members notifying them it was time to get their annual diabetic eye screening. The test group was divided in half, with group A receiving SMS messages only with a link to schedule their exam, and group B receiving the same message with a link to watch a 60-second educational video about the risks of not receiving routine diabetic eye screenings.

The results boasted a 274% increase in link clicks to schedule the eye exam when the streaming health video was used versus when it was not used.

Knowledge certainly is power. Building confidence to act using cinematic streaming experiences in undoubtably an impactful way to ignite outcomes.

3. Overcome Barriers and Create Accessibility

Factors such as income status, education level, location, access to reliable transportation, and race and ethnicity all play a significant role in accessibility to preventive care services as well as likelihood of receiving said care. Racial and ethnic minorities, particularly Hispanic and African American members, have statistically lower screening rates than white members for cervical, breast, and colorectal cancer screenings. To solve barriers for members with health disparities, you must first identify their barrier and how you can help overcome it.

By deploying multilingual omnichannel solutions, you can directly ask members what is keeping them from attending their preventive visit. Their response can determine next steps, while a customized call-to-action helps them overcome the barrier. 

Case Study: HEDIS® Measure Improvement

A Medicaid plan located in the Midwest partnered with mPulse to drive improved screening rates across multiple preventive care topics. Over 81 unique dialogs were deployed using dynamic tailoring that examined each member’s engagement rate, communication preferences, and socioeconomic data. The campaign positively impacted all targeted measures, and saw the following percentage point (pp) improvement rates:  

  • Well Child (years 0-11): +13.3pp increase 
  • Adolescent Well Care:  +9.8pp increase 
  • Dental Visit: +8.8pp increase 
  • Lead Screening: +9.5pp increase 
  • Breast Cancer Screening [BCS]: +12.6pp increase 
  • Colon Cancer Screening [CCS]: +11.5pp increase 

 

4. Continually Optimize Outcomes 

Because each member population is unique, the ongoing refinement of programs through data analysis and performance reviews will continually optimize outcomes. With a dedicated team of strategists, analysts, industry leaders, and both client and technology support experts, mPulse Mobile will help drive better preventive screening completions for your members 

In Summary  

As we head into 2023, plans will need to implement innovative solutions to increase preventive care visit completions. By leveraging omnichannel communication, educational tools and streaming experiences, and proactively addressing and helping members overcome barriers, we can begin empowering member action at scale.