Regence started on a new path to consumer engagement back in 2005.
After seeing a recent presentation outlining their consumer engagement framework, I reached out to Torben Nielsen, VP, eBusiness Strategies and Services at Regence to learn more. Torben shared their past journey as well as their future direction with me.
Here are the 4 steps along their consumer engagement path. Regence is currently at Step 3 and has a conceptual view of their next step which will continue to evolve as the market landscape fills in around them.
Consumer Engagement Step 1: Know Me
Regence’s first step focused on the passive cardholder, giving them value as they logged in. The cardholder saw all of their claims, benefits and provider information. This was back in 2005. Prior to that “it was not a good experience” since the member only saw some of their claims information and the list of providers “did not even indicate whether each one was inside or outside their network”.
Consumer Engagement Step 2: Engage Me
Beginning in 2008, Regence decided that they needed to get to know their members in order to effectively engage them.
Instead of linking the member over to their health or wellness program vendor’s website, Regence decided to keep the member within their portal to capture their online behavior.
Around that time, Regence launched their Rewards Program which awarded points to members for “tranformational activities”. These activities were rewarded because they “informed, empowered and educated the consumer”, including looking up content around a health issue or participating in a wellness program. Regence decided not to reward members for “transactional activities” such as looking up a claim or searching for a provider. Regence really needed to keep the member on their portal to track their online behavior in order to reward them.
Next Regence started their email program, sending out relevant electronic communications to bring members back to the site. Although many health plans have an interest in emailing members, I hear all the time that they do not have their email addresses. Regence collects the member’s email address during their site registration process. “We can’t engage with out email. It would be a missed opportunity to get in front of the member”, Torben emphasizes.
In addition to generating additional portal traffic, health plan communications can also strengthen their member’s satisfaction scores, which is more important now than ever with the increased market competition.
Consumer Engagement Step 3: Connect Me
Over the past two to three years, Regence has been moving faster down the path with consumers.
“Connect Me” goes beyond the “member to health plan” relationship. According to Regence, this also includes strengthening the “member to member” bond through social community and the "member to their care team" bond through ACO efforts.
One important way for Regence to strengthen the “member to member” relationship is by getting consumers to contribute more content online through conversations, ratings/reviews and suggesting local events in their geography.
Another aspect of “Connect Me” addresses the cross communication channel experience since members are increasingly accessing and engaging through their mobile devices. “We’re connecting the data that we’re sitting on to provide a more personalized experience for our members”, explains Torben.
Consumers are engaging with Regence!
- 67,000+ patient reviews have been submitted by members, of which 90% are favorable (i.e. the member would recommend the physician/facility).
- 63,000+ posts in the Community section of myRegence.com, written by more than 6,000 unique content creators.
- 346,000+ have opted- in for member electronic communications (e.g. updates and alerts, account information, etc)
- 260,000+ subscribers signed up to receive the bi-weekly myRegence.com email newsletter
Consumer Engagement Step 4: Partner with Me
As they look down their Consumer Engagement path, Regence has determined where they want to be directionally. Regence wants to be relevant to the consumer’s every day life. Something consumers need to check as part of their daily routine. Their starting place to look for information to meet all of their health needs.
Although it is challenging to know exactly where the market is going, Regence will remain in touch with their users to help guide the way.
In fact, Regence has over 400 users that help advise them by providing ongoing feedback to potential directions. [Note: Innovative companies have consumer advisory boards as a best practice. Increasingly, these consumer advisory boards are managed in a private online area and the insight captured is used to guide product and marketing decisions.]
Regence is co-creating with this growing group of consumers to define and refine online capabilities. When Regence asked for feedback about “patient reviews”, members felt they needed to see more than the reviewer’s screen name. Users wanted “the ability to connect with their peers in order to get advice when selecting a provider”. In the latest patient review experience, the screen name is linked to the reviewer’s Community profile page, where to learn more about who they are, where they’re from, what they do for a living and members have an the opportunity to make a friend request.
Regence’s Results Realized
Due in large part to Regence’s consumer engagement strategies, myRegence.com experienced the following results in 2011 over 2010:
- 30% increase in the cumulative number of content creators (i.e. those who have left a patient review, posted in Community or both).
- 88% jump in the number of $25 gift card redemptions through the Rewards program
- 76% increase in the Consumer Engagement Index (CEI) which measures the user adoption of transformational features
- 26% open rate for targeted email campaigns, nearly 2x the industry benchmark of 14%
Regence has also noticed that their segmentation efforts for email have been effective in engaging consumers. For example, by sending a Patient Review email to previous reviewers, Regence realized a 38% open rate.
As Regence moves onto step 4 in Consumer Engagement, they are conceptualizing new ways to reach out to their members with relevant information from their plan, community and care team. And they will be innovating with and listening to their users throughout their journey.