HealthJanuary 30, 2024

Can care management build member trust in healthcare and health plans?

With member engagement solutions designed to deliver personalized content at scale, care teams can provide inclusive member experiences to drive confidence in health decisions and plan loyalty.

How care management can help rebuild trust in healthcare

Even before the pandemic, it was widely acknowledged that there was a slow erosion of trust in healthcare and its professional institutions. Today, health plans are still working to overcome those trends among members, with many care management functions struggling to engage with at-risk members:

  • McKinsey studies found that 60% of members who are reached by care management do not follow through on recommended care plans.
  • Consumer surveys performed in 2022 revealed that 62% of Americans don’t trust their health plans when it comes to understanding their care options, receiving accurate provider data, and connecting to personalized and inclusive care.
    • 53% of respondents agreed a more personalized health plan would be the top factor in improving their experience.

Care management teams are uniquely positioned to build, nurture, and cultivate trust and loyalty among health plan members since these teams work closely with high-risk and high-need patients most likely to benefit from enhanced interactions and personalized care experiences.

When care managers can make direct connections with patients and members, the results can extend beyond plan loyalty. Studies have shown that trust between a patient and a healthcare provider is linked to improved patient experience and health outcomes.

The challenge care management teams face is how to scale these programs and interactions to effectively reach members and close gaps in care when they are stretched so thin and facing such a high volume of cases.

Enhancing patient trust through customized member outreach

Plans must be cautious when they work to establish trust with plan members, notes Evan T. Heigert, creative director for patient engagement at Wolters Kluwer, Health. Personalizing health outreach and education content means “a user is able to get the level of information that they find helpful at that moment,” he explains. “That’s where you build trust with patients – by not inundating them with too much information at once and finding that perfect balance of where they are in their journey.”

In a 2022 online survey of 1,000 people who had had a health encounter within the past 12 months:

  • Nearly half of the respondents said they did not get all their questions answered during their provider encounter.
  • 80% often or sometimes had follow-up questions.
  • 80% said that if they were to receive patient education, they would be more satisfied with their care.
  • 68% reported that receiving patient education would make them more likely to return to that healthcare provider.

Proactively offering different educational media and delivery options, different topics including nutrition and stress management, as well as personal condition-specific content, all serve to help the patient or member find the information they might otherwise not have the time or the presence of mind to ask for during in-person care visits. Proactive follow-up also:

  • Sets the precedent for positive future health interactions.
  • Creates a more informed and health-literate patient/member.
  • Deters members from doing their own health research on the internet or social media and potentially finding misleading or downright false information.

The crucial role of diversity, equity, and inclusion in healthcare member engagement

For historically underrepresented communities, an important element of that can be seeing themselves represented in the educational materials being shared.

According to the National Library of Medicine, there are some 80 million U.S. adults with low health literacy, and the U.S. Department of Education’s Health Literacy Report found that 65% of those come from Black, Hispanic, or other underrepresented communities.

Simply providing health education to patients or members doesn’t solve this issue of inequity of health literacy. Educational materials – whether printed or offered digitally in text or interactive video format – need to be created with an intentional effort toward health diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DE&I. Materials that reflect a broad range of members and member experiences – including races/ethnicities, ages, genders, sexual orientations, family structures, abilities, and socioeconomic statuses – have been shown to:

  • Increase medical accuracy of the information presented.
  • Build trust among a greater cross-section of patients and members.
  • Help providers and health plans build better relationships as their patient and member demographics change.

According to the aforementioned online patient survey:

  • 13% of Hispanic or Latino patients feel like they don’t have time to ask providers all of their questions vs. 10% of Caucasian patients.
  • 65% of African American patients (notably higher than any other group) say they are likely to find health education materials valuable.
  • Patients aged 56 and older are the least likely to be offered health education materials by providers (53%).

Delivering personalized health plan content at scale to improve trust and engagement

To put trust-building care management strategies into play, teams need a solution partner designed exclusively for the world of care management, specifically intended to help offer personalized member engagement, focus consistently on DE&I, and deliver at scale with a solution optimized for care management workflows.

A member engagement solution designed to amplify the impact of care management teams will provide evidence-based educational materials and interactive programming that allows teams to:

  • Provide health information members understand and can trust.
  • Offer materials personalized to their age, background, and wellness journey.
  • Position yourselves as a credible authority on topics they care about – like mental and behavioral health; hypertension; pre-diabetes; hyperlipidemia; nutrition; maternal and newborn health and safety; breastfeeding; and elder care – so members have access to relatable and relevant content and you can improve outcomes and utilization.

Learn more: Download the eBook

When care management teams are rebuilding trust with members through more effective and inclusive engagement, targeted to their direct needs, they are more likely to positively influence healthy behaviors, which ultimately helps close care gaps, reduce utilization, and lower costs of care. To learn more, download the eBook, Care management: Building trust through personalized member engagement.

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