Improving Patient Health Through Incentives: Four Tips Health Care Organizations Need to Know

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Strategic incentives are effective in encouraging and promoting healthy behaviors. Entertainment®, delivering best-in-class savings to millions since 1962 with the Entertainment® Book, brings its expertise to the health care industry by increasing and improving patient engagement through savings program incentives.

"When choosing incentives, coupons should not only have a high perceived value but should also offer relevant rewards that reinforce healthy behaviors."

Americans spend more on health care than any other high-income nation, yet have the poorest health, according to the Commonwealth Fund. Exercising, eating a balanced diet or taking preventative health assessments can make the difference between a healthy body or a chronic condition requiring a lifetime of medication and procedures. And, for health care plans and providers, the cost difference between the two is exponential.

Maintaining a healthy member or patient base is critical to the success of health care plans and providers. The key to improving individual wellness, as well as business results, is encouraging members to make healthier lifestyle choices.

The good news is strategic incentives are effective in encouraging and promoting healthy behaviors. Entertainment®, delivering best-in-class savings to millions since 1962 with the Entertainment® Book, brings its expertise to the health care industry by increasing and improving patient engagement through savings program incentives.

Entertainment® VPs Jim Techtmann and Ted Speers, with more than 10 years’ experience working with health care organizations, share four tips for improving patient and member health with incentives through its Healthy Living Rewards programs.

Define Your Goals:

Before embarking on any new project, step one is setting a clear goal to work toward. In the case of health care plans, the overall goal can be increasing healthy behavior among members. Specific goals could include encouraging members to:

  • Get an annual flu shot
  • Adhere to a prescribed medication regimen
  • See a physician for an annual wellness visit
  • Undergo risk assessments, such as a mammogram or glaucoma screenings

Health care organizations could also set goals for achieving specific business objectives or revenue numbers. For example, a Medicare health plan may want to improve its Overall Star Rating, which has measures in five main categories. Those categories include measurements on how members manage chronic conditions or how they stay healthy through activities such as undergoing preventative screenings. Incentives could be used to help improve specific scores in these areas that contribute to Star Ratings.

A major health care plan in Wisconsin, for example, set a goal to increase annual wellness visits among new members. The plan partnered with Entertainment® to create an incentive program. The program included initial direct communication to members about the importance of the wellness visits and how they could earn the reward. After completing the visit, they received their Rewards coupon book with high-value national, regional and local offers. The results were a 20 percent year-over-year increase in annual wellness visits.

Set Benchmarks to Drive Wellness Initiatives Among Current Patients and Members:

Once goals are established, the next step is to create clear, attainable benchmarks to monitor progress. Health care organizations should first assess the status quo and a clear starting point from which to measure. Benchmarks could include percentage increases or target numbers for the amount of people undergoing specific risk assessments and screenings. It could also be increasing enrollment or encouraging medication adherence.

For example, a major Midwest Medicare Advantage plan set a goal to target and increase key health measures to improve its 4.5 Star Rating. Specifically, it aimed to improve medication adherence for diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol. The plan partnered with Entertainment® to create a two-year strategic engagement program that rewarded patients for adhering to their prescribed medication plan. It included a launch communication piece, a program reminder and a final reward book with high-value incentives. By the end of the program, the plan exceeded its goals by 20 percent. The program was one of the key components in the plan achieving 5-Star status.

Create Strategic Incentives:

Coupons are more popular than the Super Bowl. In fact, 96 percent of adults use coupons regularly. Offering coupons in response to positive health choices provides an effective means for encouraging healthier behavior among members. The key is to offer a reward with a high enough perceived value to motivate members. Rewards should be specific for targeted health behaviors and offer discounts not easily available elsewhere. Ideal rewards have a low cost to the health care organization and a high perceived value plus a long shelf life for members and patients. This is not only an affordable option for health care organizations but makes patients and members feel valued, improving both healthy behaviors and overall satisfaction.

Offer Relevant Rewards:
When choosing incentives, coupons should not only have a high perceived value but should also offer relevant rewards that reinforce healthy behaviors. This could include discounts for healthy dining options or participation in physical activities. It could also include coupons for general shopping or experiences that make members feel good, encouraging mental wellness in addition to physical wellness. The key is to offer incentives that maintain a consistent message throughout the process that values a healthy lifestyle and encourages healthy behavior. Which, in turn, provides health care organizations with positive brand exposure and fosters patient loyalty.

Health care plans face the challenging task of providing care to members who make choices that are often not in either’s best interest. However, through the use of strategic incentives, such as Healthy Living Rewards programs from Entertainment®, health care organizations can encourage healthier behavior, improving both patient wellness and the organization’s bottom line.

For more information on Healthy Living Rewards programs from Entertainment® visit cms.entertainment.com/healthcare.

About us:

Entertainment® Corporate Marketing Solutions helps businesses and organizations grow through incentives and rewards. We create private-labeled digital and print savings programs with high-value discounts, powered by the Entertainment® trusted merchant network. Entertainment® Corporate Marketing Solutions has partnered with dozens of health care plans and providers, demonstrating best business practices to successfully drive member engagement and wellness behaviors through our Healthy Living Rewards programs. Engage and reward your customers, members and employees by providing real value on things they do every day with the highest quality and most trusted discount network in the U.S. and Canada.

Contacts
Karen Cuff
Senior Marketing Manager
Entertainment
Tel: +1-248-404-1710
kcuff(at)entertainment(dot)com

Erica Hobbs
Airfoil Group
For Entertainment
Tel: +1-517-677-9453
hobbs(at)airfoilgroup(dot)com

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Erica Hobbs
Airfoil Group
+1 (517) 677-9453
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