Many people start the new year resolving to eat better, exercise regularly or get more sleep—all with the intention of improving or maintaining their health.
What’s often missing from their resolutions list are critical preventive care measures like cholesterol, blood glucose and cancer screenings.
Seven out of 10 deaths among U.S. adults each year are due to chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Despite their ability to prevent chronic ailments from occurring or progressing, Americans use preventive care services, like mammograms, colonoscopies and vaccinations, at about half the recommended rate.
Catalyst for Change
Health plans can take advantage of the new year “get healthy” mindset by proactively connecting with their new and returning members during the onboarding process to conduct a health risk assessment (HRA) and discuss preventive care measures and behavioral risk factors, like tobacco use.
Getting members on track with preventive care from the get-go helps facilitate early interventions and flag potentially adverse health conditions before they escalate. It also sets the stage for future interactions throughout the year, elevates member engagement and activation, minimizes the end-of-year crunch at provider offices, and helps plans boost their HEDIS scores.
“The beginning of the new benefit year is the perfect time to talk to members about preventive care, including educating them on relevant guidelines, the risk of nonadherence and available resources,” says Jennie Echols, PhD, MSN, RN, Director of Clinical Solution Development at Carenet Healthcare Services. “However, to drive positive behavior change, it’s absolutely essential that your members understand and are onboard with your messaging.”
Comprehension is Key
Considering that nearly nine out of 10 American adults having limited health literacy, a vital first step when speaking to members is assessing their capacity to comprehend the information that’s being shared.
Ensuring members thoroughly understand the importance of preventive care, related medical terminology and jargon, and the services available to them increases adherence to recommended measures ultimately improving clinical and financial outcomes.
To successfully communicate with diverse populations, plans need to be able to speak to their members in their primary language using plain language. And, they need to take into consideration cultural beliefs, values, attitudes and practices regarding health and healthcare. Doing so will help remove some of the top barriers people face when it comes to comprehending health information and accessing care.
“Helping healthcare consumers acquire the knowledge, skills and resources they need to make timely, informed health decisions empowers them to take greater control over their wellbeing,” says Echols. “The more educated and equipped they are, the savvier they are at utilizing their benefits and the more satisfied they are with their plan—it’s a win-win for everyone.”
To learn more about how you can improve your plan’s performance starting in the new year, click here to download Carenet’s ebook, 7 Key Steps for Successful Member Onboarding and Relationship Cultivation.