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Stories: Healthcare Engagement Plays Key Role in Helping Organizations Calm Fears and Deliver Care During COVID-19 Pandemic


During the COVID-19 pandemic, a top priority for individuals was finding trusted partners and sources of information who could help them understand what their next steps should be and how to protect their own health, as well as that of their loved ones.

But as the pandemic emerged, widespread confusion became common. Many physician offices were forced to temporarily close their doors, public health advisories weren’t always consistent or easily found, shelter-in-place orders were issued, and there was an overall reduction in quick access to care and information. It wasn’t unusual for people to become increasingly isolated and stressed and in need of a reliable source of patient guidance.

That’s when numerous health plans and healthcare organizations took quick action to step up and step in—to adapt and fill the void with targeted outreach efforts. For support in creating and implementing these turnkey initiatives, the organizations turned to Carenet Health.

Carenet’s strategic experts acted swiftly, as well—leveraging the company’s industry-leading services and infrastructure, along with a highly skilled engagement workforce, to provide rapid assistance and program deployment. Working collaboratively with various partners, Carenet implemented more than 20 COVID-19-related initiatives over a 90-day period, including programs focused on:

Following are just six examples that illustrate how Carenet worked with clients to optimize new outreach initiatives and healthcare engagement in support of changing (and vital) care and information needs.

Example 1: A breath of fresh air

As the pandemic was picking up speed across the nation, a large health plan wanted to implement phone wellness check-ins with their 5,400 Medicare members who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). This outreach effort went from concept to launch in a two-week span, thanks to the organization’s long-time partnership with Carenet.

Over a 12-day period, Carenet’s empathy-trained team personally connected with nearly 40% of the targeted population with information and support. To help keep members safe, our engagement specialists ensured all contacted members had access to at least a 30-day supply of medications and encouraged utilization of virtual care. This effort also helped the health plan demonstrate compassion and care, and develop a stronger relationship with these at-risk members—who were grateful for the calls.

Example 2: A welcome exchange

A new Medicare Advantage health plan wanted to provide personalized support to its new members, as well as create loyalty and trust by providing scientifically based COVID-19 health and safety information. The company quickly asked Carenet—which had been busy making welcome and onboarding calls to their members—to pivot and develop a pandemic-specific outreach effort.

Carenet’s engagement team contacted over 50% of the health plan’s members to not only complete member onboarding but also provide support and CDC-approved safety guidelines for COVID-19. In addition, the team assisted members in scheduling virtual physician visits and activating mail-order prescriptions. Members reported high satisfaction for the outreach and praised the plan for making the connection and providing critical information during a stressful time.

Example 3: All in one: Addressing fears, closing gaps and boosting satisfaction

Another growing health plan also leveraged its well-established partnership with Carenet to communicate with its Medicare members during the pandemic. One of the plan’s ongoing outreach efforts, which was initially designed to close gaps in care and improve HEDIS® measures, was rapidly expanded to check in with members about their needs and fears during the pandemic.

The program immediately resulted in high satisfaction rates and abundant positive feedback from members. Carenet’s engagement team achieved a 69% reach rate and a 43% conversion rate in scheduling HEDIS-related appointments, even during the pandemic. Additionally, the effort supported the plan’s Stars and CAHPS improvement initiatives while making sure members have all the medications and other healthcare support they need.

Example 4: In touch and out of isolation

A healthcare organization that served a large Medicare-aged population on the West Coast wanted to stay in touch with their members during the pandemic to assess and address social determinants of health (SDOH) and determine if isolation was creating any unmet mental or physical health needs. The organization partnered with Carenet, whose engagement specialists conducted an outreach campaign that evaluated each member’s access to nutritious food, availability of medications and basic supplies, and quality of social connections with family and caregivers.

Carenet’s team learned that the need was greater than anticipated: Many of these seniors were no longer receiving support or visits from home aids or family members due to a shelter-in-place order. Thanks to this outreach, Carenet connected 60% of the targeted members to local foodbanks and provided one in five with COVID-19 information or services. Carenet’s outreach team also coached members on how to access telehealth resources like nurse advice lines and virtual physician consultations if they started showing any symptoms of COVID-19.

Example 5: Medication management outreach to the rescue

One of the nation’s largest healthcare organizations found that pandemic-related closures were causing serious medication-related repercussions for individuals. Since many doctors’ offices were closed or operating during limited hours, prescription refill authorizations were being delayed. That meant some individuals weren’t able to get their medications refilled at a pharmacy in a timely manner and were running out of critical medications.

The organization turned to Carenet, who reached out to both providers and patients to problem-solve. In many cases, patients were offered courtesy 30-day refills to help patients and providers until lockdowns were lifted, physician practices were able to open with COVID-19 safety protocols or telehealth could be used for prescription renewal visits. This outreach proved substantially effective with 70% of the contacted individuals opting for a courtesy medication refill to maintain medication adherence.

Example 6: Telehealth care with SDOH connections

A healthcare organization in a large state wanted to launch a telehealth nurse advice line to serve the estimated 2.7 million uninsured residents during the COVID-19 pandemicTurning to Carenet for support, the organization’s leaders were pleased when the virtual care effort launched within two weeks—in time to serve the state’s surge of COVID-19 cases.

Carenet’s telehealth registered nurses not only successfully triaged symptoms and guided individuals to the next best step for care, they also provided information on where to find local and free COVID-19 testing and even arranged transportation if necessary.

Learn more about how Carenet Health can help your organization. Timely, informative and compassionate engagement and telehealth initiatives proved their worth during the pandemic, helping health insurers and other payer and provider organizations support members’ and patients’ health and wellness needs, ease their fears, boost loyalty and improve outcomes. If you’d like to explore how Carenet can help your organization, please reach out. We can move quickly to take ideas off the drawing board and put them into action.

HEDIS® is a registered trademark of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).


Carenet Health is acquiring Health Dialog

uniquely positioning us to transform the business of healthcare by leveraging our expanded insight-driven, personalized consumer engagement and activation platform.