Healthcare engagement outsourcing companies like Carenet Health and the health plans, health systems and other related organizations they partner with are continuing to work together to meet the needs of an industry in transition. And as healthcare consumerism and new care delivery and payment models change the playing field, healthcare contact center support models are changing, too.

Closer partnerships, better contracts in healthcare engagement

We’re already seeing healthcare call center contracts that are far more collaborative among all of the entities involved in successful engagement—the outsourcing business and the healthcare payer or provider. Internal and external teams are working more closely together, and technology is increasing in interoperability. Expectations are higher, but there is also greater alignment relating to consumer engagement performance, metrics and optimization. Agreed-upon performance guarantees are becoming the norm.

This level of cooperation has the ultimate goal of drastically improving consumer engagement, especially in the areas of medication adherence, chronic care management, and other HEDIS and CMS Stars program-related measures.

Low-risk engagement optimization and healthcare contact centers

The current acceleration toward greater alignment also means health and wellness organizations are working more closely with their outsourcing partners on testing, learning, challenging and refining engagement efforts. Small, low-risk tests are being used to quickly fine-tune approaches before full-scale or even pilot programs launch. This model will remain dependent on trusted engagement partnerships and solid contracts.

Emerging staffing models gaining strength in healthcare

Just like so many other industries in the U.S., the utilization of hybrid resource models and the gig economy are developing as options for flexible and scalable healthcare staffing, especially in the areas of patient engagement and healthcare contact center support. This isn’t surprising when you consider the low unemployment rate, healthcare staffing shortages and the need to find a more efficient way to address fluctuating and escalating consumer and patient engagement needs. The industry is already experiencing more openness to mixing onshore and offshore teams for healthcare responsibilities in areas other than back-office functions.

In addition, the so-called “alternative workforce,” which includes outsourced teams, freelancers, contractors and gig workers, is going to become a much larger deal in healthcare in the near future. Studies predict that the number of people working in that alternative category (in all industries) will reach more than 40 million next year. In healthcare engagement, alternative teams are already being used in areas such as consumer support, health coaching, contracted patient outreach and after-hours nurse triage and member services.

In particular, virtual care (also called telehealth or telemedicine) is a natural fit for a gig economy. Telehealth nurses, physicians, care coordinators and intake specialists stand to make a real difference in the field. Plus, the ability to choose from flexible schedules and improving work/life balance could be one way to help healthcare burnout. Meanwhile, patients benefit from interacting with quality clinical teams without geographic barriers.

The role of millennials in forcing these changes

The emergence of new staffing models in healthcare is also being driven by the increase in millennials in the workforce. They make up almost half of the nation’s gig economy right now. Consider that in healthcare, more than 40% of the current workforce right now is millennial—and that includes nurses and physicians. It won’t be long before millennials who want alternative workforce models influence healthcare in a bigger way.

More information available

For more information on topics that discuss the future of healthcare engagement, download our 2020 Healthcare Consumer Engagement Forecast.