Healthfirst and HealthCrowd Extract Eye-Opening Insights From Medicaid Population Pilot Program

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Healthfirst Identifies Viable Way to Engage Medicaid Members With HealthCrowd’s Intelligent Mobile Messaging

'We are very optimistic about the power of mobile to motivate positive behavioral change in healthcare, particularly in underserved populations, now and increasingly in the future,' said Neng Bing Doh, CEO of HealthCrowd.

HealthCrowd, a disruptor and industry leading innovator in healthcare mobile messaging, announced today key findings obtained from an industry-first pilot program with Healthfirst. Healthfirst is a not-for-profit managed care organization sponsored by some of the most prestigious and nationally recognized hospitals and medical centers in New York. The pilot program’s process outcomes revealed that mobile messaging is a viable HEDIS outreach channel for Medicaid members. Leveraging HealthCrowd’s mobile messaging platform, Healthfirst was able to drive Medicaid members towards a desired action in a very short timeframe.

In 2013, Healthfirst engaged HealthCrowd to assess the viability of intelligent mobile messaging (SMS) as a mainstream outreach and communications channel for its core population. The objective was two-fold:

1) To assess, analyze, understand and document the effectiveness of multiple outreach channels — postcards, buckslips in mailers, interactive voice response (IVR), email, and mobile (text) messaging

2) To discover if mobile (text) messaging campaigns improve performance across select child and maternal health HEDIS measures

Surprise: Medicaid Members Are Mobile … Just Like The Rest of Us
The results of the industry-first pilot program revealed unexpected insights into the Medicaid population. These findings included that a substantial 86% of phone numbers supplied by Healthfirst’s member population were actually digital (cellular and voip-based), capable of sending and receiving text messages. The Medicaid population’s access to mobile communications is, in fact, very similar to the general U.S. population. The program also revealed insights into the cost-effectiveness of different outreach channels to Medicaid participants, providing beneficial information not just to Healthfirst but to other safety net organizations. During the two-and-a-half month duration of the pilot program, the level at which members were engaged is best expressed by the exceedingly high response rates and equally impressive low opt-out rates, further indicating members’ willingness, even eagerness, to communicate via mobile.

Key Findings included:

  •     Engaging Medicaid beneficiaries is most cost-effective via mobile means
  •     Medicaid members are likely to have high interest in engaging with their health plan using mobile messaging
  •     Members who respond more to HealthCrowd’s text messages are more likely to take the desired behavior-changing action during the campaign period than those who respond less
  •     HealthCrowd’s intelligent mobile messaging platform proved to be a viable mainstream HEDIS outreach channel for those who participated, based on its ability to drive ~32% (not including decay effects) of members toward a desired action in a very short timeframe

All of this evidence supports the need for health plans to engage Medicaid beneficiaries through mobile means — mobile/digital messaging, mobile web, email, social and IVR.

“By providing valuable and actionable insights, HealthCrowd’s mobile messaging platform is enabling Healthfirst to cost-effectively engage with our Medicaid beneficiaries in consistent, meaningful ways,” said Rebecca Schwietz, Vice President of Clinical Performance Management at Healthfirst.

Leveraging tried and tested techniques from consumer engagement in advertising and retail to motivate behavior change in healthcare, HealthCrowd has a built a reputation as an innovative leader in enterprise mobile messaging for healthcare. For the first time, the Healthfirst and HealthCrowd collaboration used pertinent member data to intelligently personalize messages in real-time, made possible by HealthCrowd’s Dynamic Persuasion technology. The program was highly interactive in that it attempted to engage members in an action with each message, as opposed to generic, one-way messaging initiatives previously utilized by other health plans.

“We are thrilled that results of this industry-first pilot program serve as solid evidence that mobile has truly come of age. Our efforts and domain expertise developed over the past years put us in a great position to lead healthcare organizations through and beyond this inflection point and the eventual systemic changes,” said Neng Bing Doh, CEO of HealthCrowd. “We are very optimistic about the power of mobile to motivate positive behavioral change in healthcare, particularly in underserved populations, now and increasingly in the future.”

About Healthfirst
Healthfirst is a not-for-profit managed care organization with more than 900,000 members of the diverse communities of downstate New York. We are ranked the #1 Quality Medicaid Plan in NYS. We treat our Medicaid, Family Health Plus, Child Health Plus, Medicare Advantage, and Managed Long Term Care members with the same care and attention we would want for our own families. We are also a proud participant in NY State of Health: The Official Health Plan Marketplace. For more information, visit the company's websites at and    

About HealthCrowd
HealthCrowd is the creator of the first truly unified, end-to-end mobile messaging platform that increases patient engagement for healthcare providers in a wide-range of markets. Based in San Mateo, California, HealthCrowd is dedicated to helping healthcare organizations optimize and scale the delivery of personalized communications across multiple modes -- text, interactive text response (ITR), chat, mobile web, email, voice (IVR) and mail. The company’s expertise in the healthcare industry, online advertising and analytics allows it to help healthcare organizations be more strategic -- connecting with patients in a consistent and meaningful way. HealthCrowd is a private company, funded by the Band of Angels, Sierra Maya Ventures and other forward-thinking investors. For more information, please visit or follow us on Twitter at

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Neng Bing Doh
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Carmen Hughes
Ignite PR
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