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Your Strategies for Improving Patient Outcomes Neglect At-Risk Groups

Target wellness programIncreasing patient satisfaction, improving patient outcomes and reducing preventable readmissions — these are just a few of the daunting tasks hospitals face on the route to transforming American health care. One of the biggest barriers threatening to derail progress is the struggle to effectively manage the health concerns of at-risks groups. But what characterizes an at-risk group? 

In addition to certain chronic diseases, race, ethnicity and socioeconomics are patient characteristics that put a population segment at risk. 

According to a recent survey conducted by Interact — a non-profit organization serving 20 counties in Southwest Ohio, Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana — 4 in 10 adults report that race, ethnicity or poverty directly impacts their ability to find a trusted health care provider. 

And trust is critical. 

As Greer Glazer, associate vice president for health affairs and dean of the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing notes, “Research shows trust between a patient and provider is important for creating an effective care environment. Having trust in this relationship leads to increased patient satisfaction and better compliance with treatment recommendations.” 

Without a doubt, hospitals must learn to recognize at-risk populations to better address their unique needs and improve overall health outcomes. 

Complement Hospital IT with Consumer Segmentation

In 2012, Reid Hospital in Richmond, Indiana initiated a program to help patients better manage their chronic conditions. Using patient data, the hospital now segments its population into three risk categories — low-risk, high-risk and potentially high-risk. 

Armed with this information, the hospital schedules regular interventions, customized to help patients live healthier lives, no matter what their risk level may be. The hospital’s proactive approach includes using patient navigators to work directly with patients and family members along with automated systems for appointment and medication reminders. 

Already, the hospital has experienced cost savings as the program has helped to reduce preventable readmissions. 

The use of consumer segmentation can help organizations like Reid Hospital achieve even greater success managing at-risk population health. How? By analyzing the consumer base, segmentation breaks down the larger population into smaller groups sharing similar traits based on demographics, socioeconomics and more.  

Psychographic segmentation — which drills down to uniquely personal values, emotions, personalities and lifestyles — offers hospitals deeper insights into how to fine-tune communications for increasing patient engagement and improving patient outcomes… even within recognized at-risk groups.

c2b solutions has demonstrated that effective application of psychographic insights can motivate even the least health-engaged consumers to take steps toward improvement

Higher patient engagement is critical, not only for improving patient outcomes, but also for increasing patient satisfaction.  

A report released by the Blue Shield of California Foundation found that when compared to higher-income patients, low-income Californians have very different perceptions of health care. 

  • More than 50 percent of low-income Californians have negative views of health care quality, compared to only 30 percent of higher-income Californians.

  • Only 35 percent of low-income Californians rate their health to be “excellent” or “very good,” compared to 61 percent of higher-income Californians.

Reinforcing these findings, the 2013 c2b Consumer Diagnostic found that individuals in households making under $50,000 annually were statistically less likely (95% confidence) to be Extremely/Very Satisfied with their health insurance coverage. 

According to the Blue Shield of California report, the predictive power of income drops by half when hospitals and other health care providers effectively engage patients. 

In a statement released with the report, the foundation’s president and CEO, Peter V. Long, Ph.D., remarked, “By identifying the factors that explain inequalities in patient satisfaction and engagement, and developing simple, achievable solutions to address those factors, we can begin to level the healthcare playing field for all Californians.” 

But identifying factors related to income are not enough. Unique personal experiences and expectations, even within a single socioeconomic group, mean that targeting the broader group with a universal message will fail to reach everyone. Obviously, not all members of an age, ethnic or income group think and act alike.

While one person might be motivated by a desire for personal control, another might be more inclined to adopt desired behaviors based on a sense of familial duty. Using psychographic segmentation, hospitals and other healthcare providers can define precisely how to communicate with patients — regardless of income level — to encourage active participation in their own health care. 

To learn more about how consumer analytics can enhance hospital programs for improving patient outcomes, contact c2b solutions.

Psychographic Segmentation and its Practical Application in Patient Engagement and Behavior Change

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