The Next Health Care Trend: Consumer Engagement

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By Dan Schlacter

I recently attended Modern Healthcare’s Mobile Health Summit: Connecting Providers, Payers and Patients. As the conversation began, it quickly became clear that health care conversations – especially those about consumer-facing trends like mobile health – must include professional communicators.

According to the panel, the manner in which health care is delivered has traditionally been driven by the industry itself. However, with the proliferation of mobile health products – like e-scribing, remote monitoring and health care apps – consumers are beginning to influence how care is delivered by adopting those mobile health tools they find to be convenient.

With the additional focus placed on consumer involvement comes an increased need for consumer outreach, which in turn creates a bigger voice for communicators within health care companies.

Modern Healthcare Summit

In a recent survey released by Modern Healthcare, 73 percent of health care providers responded as using mobile health in some fashion. Further, 62 percent of those providers cited patient and consumer engagement as the top use for mobile health.

The panelists went on to discuss wearable health care technology, like Fitbit and Jawbone UP fitness trackers, and the recently debuted Apple Watch. When asked about issues the health care industry must overcome regarding wearable technology, Scott Blanchett, CIO of Kindred Health, said that “wearables” require consumer engagement, and the health care industry does not have a great track record of successfully engaging consumers.

As consumers are exposed to more tools for accessing health care, providers will be able to rely less and less on the traditional captive audiences they have served. Rather, providers will have to not only offer mobile health resources, but also proactively engage consumers regarding those resources, their availability, their benefits and their functionality.

This trend will continue to grow as high-deductible insurance plans, which place additional financial pressure on consumers to make informed health care decisions, become more commonplace.

These are just a few reason that, with 27 years of experience with issues-based community outreach experience, health care expertise, national advertising capabilities, and in-house digital and design services, MP&F Public Relations is your ally in consumer engagement.

Mobile Health Summit panelists:

  • Scott Blanchett, CIO, Kindred Health
  • John Jesser, VP Clinical Innovation and Strategy, Wellpoint
  • Leigh Ann Ruggles, Director for Strategy, Business Development and Marketing, Verizon Mobile Health Solutions
  • Lynn Simon, President, Clinical Services and CQO, Community Health Systems

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