There’s a new index in town. This week’s entrant is the EveryMove 100, a ranking of health plans across the US “based on how they engage with and empower consumers to manage their own health.” according to the presser. (EveryMove is a health rewards based marketing and incentives company that provides opportunities to consumers to earn benefits by engaging in healthy behaviors.)

Consumer engagement and empowerment in the health care sphere are a good thing, so I asked EveryMove CEO Russell Benaroya for a little more information on these rankings, as the website was short on detail. He filled me on on the initial metrics, and suggested that the metrics will be revisited on a quarterly basis by the team and advisory board (which at present includes Matthew HoltAman Bhandari and Garrison Bliss).

At the outset, health plans are ranked by these five categories of consumer engagement and interaction:

  1. Social media presence and performance. Having accounts is important. Having accounts engaged in active dialogue with consumers is more important.
  2. Mobile strategy. Is there a mobile website? Are there user-friendly apps available on multiple platforms?
  3. Website statistics. How much traffic is any website getting relative to other health plans? Is the content fresh or static?
  4. Customer support.  How easy is it to find contact info? How are plans using technology to make contacting them easier?
  5. Customer satisfaction. EveryMove surveyed its own user base (100,000 nationwide) to get data on health plans.

Benaroya’s aspirational statement after running through these metrics was the hope that health plans will look at their own standing in this index and make an effort to do better.  (The index is provided as an informational service by his company.)

The individual mandate under the ACA is still slated to take effect January 1. This is one tool that may help individuals choose among plan options available to them.

I like the idea that consumer engagement measures are available to indivudals at the time they need to make these choices. I like the use of social media presence and engagement as a key series of metrics as well. There are a million tools out there for use in choosing a health plan. I look forward to the maturing of this tool so that it can be a more useful tool for individuals facing a difficult choice.

At least as important, however, are decision tools that allow individuals to model their likely costs, so that each person can choose the best plan for his or her own specific circumstances.

So, engaged and empowered consumers of health services: What do you think of the utility of this index? What would you like to see it do in the future?

David Harlow is a health care lawyer and consultant at The Harlow Group LLC, and chairs the Society for Participatory Medicine’s public policy committee. A version of this post first appeared on his home blog, HealthBlawgYou should follow him on Twitter: @healthblawg

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