During the 6th Annual World Technology & Innovation Congress (WHIT), I led a panel to share Social Community insights from The Regence Group and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island. With my extensive online community experience, I was impressed with the capabilities and design of this healthcare social community that Regence has built and grown to over 600,000 members across five Plans and four states.
Torben Nielsen, Director of myRegence.com has been leading the community development from the beginning, incorporating features to engage the member such as rewards, ratings, decision support tools and an integrated experience tying together content into community.
Key Concerns for Social Communities
As health plans develop their social community strategy, they often confront three key concerns from internal stakeholders. The first is around addressing negative comments by members. “We tell them that your members will say what they want about your plan but you have an opportunity within the community to have a customer service contact them directly to resolve any issues or post a response to their comment”, explains Torben. A second concern is about the posting of personal health information which can be filtered by the community software. The third issue is about consumers offering inaccurate information. “One of the roles of our moderators is to ensure that the member is directed the right answers when necessary”, replies Torben.
Engagement Capabilities within the Community
The Regence group designed MyRegence.com with a compelling set of features to engage and empower members. Here are four capabilities that I feel are the most compelling:
1. Reviews. This social community requires that you have a claim before you can review your provider experience. Your provider can post a response to your comments following your review. Other community members can send you a message to learn more about your experience as they consider using the provider.
2. Rewards. Members earn rewards points for using the Community to review new health information, become part of a wellness group and for entering their wellness activities such as exercise, diet and preventative care.
3. Decision Support. As a member considers a particular treatment option, he can review the percentage of members who have had the treatment done or prescribed and see the estimated treatment cost range and an estimated personal cost.
4. Integrated Experience. When a member reads information about eating healthy, she can click a link to watch videos from Chef Tse, discuss ideas for cooking light meals with the community and request to receive eNewsletters filled with food related articles and links into additional content and community discussions of interest.
My Blue Community
The Regence Group has defined a part of my Regence.com as the My Blue Community to serve as a national online community platform that supports members from other participating Blues plans including early adopters Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana. Kimberly A. Holway, Market Segment Manager, Strategic Marketing & Product Innovation from Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island discussed their experiences planning and rolling out My Blue Community to their members this past summer.
Value Proposition to Members
“When we marketed My Blue Community to our members, we positioned it as a ‘safe and secure place to share experiences and get support’ from others”, explains Kimberly. “We view this as a way to expand the network so that members can more readily find people with their same health issues and interests”. BCBS of Rhode Island members are expressing the value that they see with the community. One member confirmed that it was a ‘safe environment to seek advice’ with peers that are ‘trustworthy’.
As Torben pointed out, you need to be a member of the health plan to log in which ensures that they are an adult participating in the community.
Another BCBS Rhode Island member expressed the value that she gains ‘by reading what other people have posted’ and ‘seeing stories which are relatable’.
Member Engagement Validation
There is so much to learn about how consumers engage in private vs public (e.g. Facebook, destination health sites) social communities. Healthcare organizations are experimenting with both formats to understand the differences in the content shared and the frequency that consumers engage just to name a few. When evaluating engagement, it is also important to understand how much consumers gain when contributing vs consuming content from these communities.
How can health plans bring new sources of value to educate, support and enable members to collaborate with others about their health within these social communities? Stay tuned.