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What We Learned At AHIP’s Consumer Experience & Digital Health Forum

posted by Alicia Caramenico

on December 14, 2018

Health innovation, disruption, next-gen ideas—that’s what attendees found this week at AHIP’s 2018 Consumer Experience & Digital Health Forum in Nashville. Kicking things off, AHIP CEO Matt Eyles announced a new “Better Care for Consumers Center” to better understand, hear directly from, and create real solutions for the most important part of the health care system: the consumer.

Throughout our forum, leaders across different industries and fields came together to explore how to better engage with consumers and deliver positive experiences that revolutionize how they think about coverage and care. Here’s what we learned:

Technology alone doesn’t equal innovation.

  • Innovation can come from anywhere or anyone: a “mad scientist” passionate about discovering new ideas and new ways of thinking to improve care, or in the case of Sutter Health, an innovation accelerator” team of leaders across the organization to test and scale new concepts.
  • “It’s about getting the data elements that make sense for the consumer and connecting that data with the consumer—when and where they need it—so they can make the best decisions for themselves and their family,” said Derek Weiss, vice president of strategy and partnerships and deputy chief information officer of Cambia Health Solutions.
  • Independence Blue Cross (IBX) is going outside its traditional ecosystem for partnerships and collaborations to create magnetic, frictionless experiences for patients. Brian Lobley, president of Commercial and Consumer Markets at IBX, urged health insurance providers to not be afraid to disrupt their current business models. “What we did for 80 years isn’t what we’re going to do for the next 80 years.”
  • Health insurance providers are using competition to drive innovation. To stand out in the highly competitive Pittsburgh, Pa., market, Highmark Health is developing new services like same-day appointments with primary care doctors and specialist and doctor matching tools to pair patients with doctors based on shared values and personality traits.
  • “We need to start operating from the outside in versus the inside out. We need to understand the consumer experience,” said Gregory Brown, divisional senior vice president, Service Delivery Operations at Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC).

Focus on the feelings.

  • For technology innovation to succeed, it must bring some humanity to health care. A theme that ran through much of the conference was that there is no B2B or B2C in health care. It’s person to person.
  • “Be transparent and remind people that you are human. Remember, it’s the experience that matters.”—Entrepreneur Johnny Cupcakes shared advice for inspiring customer loyalty and innovation.
  • Health insurance providers continue to recognize the link between a person’s connection to community and their health outcomes. That’s why CareMore is tackling loneliness as a public health issue, led by Chief Togetherness Officer Robin Caruso.

Rethink how we talk about health care and coverage.

  • Consumers struggle to understand the words and phrases we use in health care. This was a theme we heard during numerous sessions. In fact, 52 percent of Americans have low health literacy, the management and professional services firm Accenture discovered through their surveys.
  • The first step is to recognize there is a problem. HCSC’s Gregory Brown challenged us to rethink the language we use communicating with consumers. We need to write and talk in ways the average person can understand.
  • Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana also emphasized how much words really do matter. Information delivered using common language leads to improved outcomes. For example, smokers are more likely to quit if told how old their lungs are acting instead of medical terms on pulmonary health.

The forum was a perfect setting to build relationships inside and outside the industry and gain insights into where health care innovation is headed. What were your top takeaways?