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 Holt, Aman Bhandari and Garrison Bliss).
At the outset, health plans are ranked by these five categories of consumer engagement and interaction:
- Social media presence and performance. Having accounts is important. Having accounts engaged in active dialogue with consumers is more important.
- Mobile strategy. Is there a mobile website? Are there user-friendly apps available on multiple platforms?
- Website statistics. How much traffic is any website getting relative to other health plans? Is the content fresh or static?
- Customer support. How easy is it to find contact info? How are plans using technology to make contacting them easier?
- 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, HealthBlawg. You should follow him on Twitter: @healthblawg.
David — there are many more variables to consider when it comes to health plans/consumer engagement. From the tech perspective, how about num app downloads, efforts in gamification, self-tracking, efforts across both health & wellness, chronic disease, and telehealth?…. and more.
I join you in thinking consumers will need trusted sources to help them compare their choices, and the metrics they propose to begin with look reasonable and relevant. Good to see it taking shape!
I know that healthplans are trying to expand into a do it all healthcare company, but they failed to impress us with doing right what they originally had to do – enable the payments between patients and providers. Why would I care about my health plan empowering me with my healthcare? Why would I care if they are on social media or not?
Here’s what I would like to see health plans do well to begin with:
– Functioning website that allows me to see my claims data online and on a mobile device.
– A clear idea of what they approve and how much it costs the patient, the employer and how much the plan pays. I want to see options with costs and results
– I want them to pay my doctors promptly and to not set bureaucratic barriers to either me or my doctor.
– I want them to agree with other plans to create a standard claims forms so my doctors won’t have to spend a fortune on staff to deal with their custom forms.
I would think the best evaluation is to ask: would you recommend this to friends and family? separated by customer type: young and healthy, patient with one or more chronic disease, patient with a hospitalization during last year, provider, employer.
And in all honesty if they did a good job, I would not expect many people to answer this – they should be inconspicuous and helpful. I’m not raving about my bank or gas station. I don’t actually recommend them to my friends unless there’s something really great about them. Health plans seem to want to do something great without covering the basics first.
I wonder if there eventually will be health plans that cater to specific problems or have ways to reach different populations with different problems and needs. There’s a big difference between the needs of a healthy child and one with cystic fibrosis or serious asthma or allergies, for example. And between a healthy 65 year old just starting Medicare and a 95 year old frail patient with a couple of chronic conditions or a need for help with basic self-care. How can a generic health plan meet those specific needs? Perhaps they could have a basic plan and then have a variety of options tailored to a variety of needs. I think that may be a way for health plans to do the basics well yet also provide value added services, too.