LinkedIn Facebook Instagram Twitter YouTube

Last week Reema partnered with Bright Spots in Healthcare for a roundtable discussion focused on engaging hard-to-reach dual eligible health plan members. The webinar titled Unique Approaches to Building Trust with Dual Eligible Members featured insights from four industry experts, covering a variety of insights for health plans to take away to build better programs that meet more member needs. 

Expert voices featured in this conversation:

  • Catherine Mitchell, Chief Strategy Officer, Optum at Home
  • Christopher McDade, VP, Integrated Medicare Health Plans and Revenue Management, AmeriHealth Caritas
  • Leanna Moran, Managing Director of the Duals Market, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island
  • Melissa Kjolsing, Chief Growth Officer, Reema Health

This post highlights the top insights covered during the roundtable, including: 

  • Defining engagement and what it means in healthcare 
  • Reinventing engagement and what that looks like for different populations
  •  How to build an engagement strategy based on trust

To gain all of the insights presented, watch the webinar on-demand.


Defining Engagement

Member engagement can mean a lot of different things depending on the context. During the roundtable Melissa Kjolsing defined engagement this way, “When we say engagement we mean that a member is actively participating in their health care through preventive services, utilizing their benefits, and reaching out for additional resources.”

And getting to a place where a member feels empowered enough to take control of their healthcare can be a journey. A journey that Reema and health plans actively want to be a part of. At the top of the roundtable, Melissa also shared a client story and their desire to reinvent how they approached engagement with their most complex members. The members in this population were receiving phone calls and resources from their health plan, but the tactics used didn’t lead to any behavior change. 

These unengaged members didn’t trust the system because they had been failed by it year over year. So we partnered with this health plan to reinvent the way we thought about engagement.

By reimagining what health engagement could look like, the plan hypothesized that by meeting social needs through genuine, trusting relationships we could drive better engagement, resulting in a reduction in the total cost of care for the member and improve their quality of life. Once the program was implemented, this proved to be true and resulted in a 40% total cost of care reduction for the members in the program.



What “Reinventing Engagement” Looks Like for Dual Eligible Member Populations

We tend to find that members become disengaged with their healthcare for a number of reasons. The system has failed them in the past. The literature regarding benefits is confusing. The member doesn’t have the time or resources to manage their situation. The member has unmet needs that take priority over their health. Navigating the system is complex to the point that it’s too hard to follow through. These are only a few examples, but finding out why people aren’t engaging in the first place is the starting point in order for us to decide how to approach engagement.

Are you meeting needs or are you just referring people?

On top of it all, many of these unreachable members are often over assessed, yet underserved. It may be that we know what’s going on with a member clinically, but we don’t understand the unmet health-related social needs that need to be addressed first before our focus can shift to health.

This webinar is not only available on-demand to view, it was released as an episode of the Bright Spots in Healthcare podcast and can be heard below or on your favorite podcast platform.

Building an Engagement Strategy Based on Trust

The focus of the conversation centered around the different ways to build trust. In the end the message was clear: it’s all about meeting members where they are. In some ways, the panelists meant this literally. Christopher McDade discussed the importance of a zip code-based strategy and using a block by block analysis to understand the differences within communities and how we should approach engagement.

You can only establish trust if you are meeting the member how they want to be engaged. We need to figure out how to work with people in a way that works for them, not the other way around.

In other ways, trust building begins with shared understanding. Further, trust starts with treating people like people, not a clinical need to overcome (that comes later). When outreaching to members, we should always be considering their preferences:

  • How do they like to be contacted? In-person, text messages, or phone calls? Find out and follow through.
  • When do they want to be contacted? Not everyone has the flexibility to chat during the day, so understanding when a member is available is key to establishing a relationship built on trust.
  • What does this member already know? Some members may have a good grasp on their benefits, while others need more guidance. 

Another theme that emerged during this roundtable is that engagement doesn’t stop with one interaction. It’s the overall experience, the journey a member takes. Trust can be built or broken at any stage, and that’s why having trusted partners walk side-by-side members as they navigate the complexities of healthcare is important. 



The Path Forward

Being open to unique approaches to engagement and adopting an innovative mindset allows us to be creative in our outreach approach. Sometimes you need to forget what you think you know about what your members want. By building trust with members, they’ll be willing to tell you how they want to interact, what they need, and what we can do to make their experience better.

By doing this we don’t just improve health outcomes, we build meaningful relationships and members that feel empowered to own their health.

Subscribe to the Blog