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c2b's Consumer Classifier Shows Doctors when It's Time to Step Back

doctors-stepping-backThere was a time when patients accepted a backseat role in managing their own wellness. They accepted the insurance offered by their employers and the counsel of their physicians.

But things are changing.

Thanks to the Internet, mobile devices and recent healthcare reforms, including an insurance marketplace, consumers have more control over their healthcare decisions than ever before — and plenty of consumers want to take the wheel when it comes to personal health. In this new consumer-driven healthcare marketplace, how can doctors tell when it’s time to start navigating, rather than driving, for their patients?  

Understanding Consumers is Crucial

Patient engagement is bandied about so much, that it may seem like just another buzzword, but for healthcare-related organizations — from the largest hospital networks and small physician practices to health insurance and pharmaceutical companies — to achieve success, they must connect with and influence their consumers.

It’s a huge change for organizations.

As Information Week pointed out in an article earlier this year, “For a long time, the US system of employer-sponsored healthcare was built around a business-to-business model, where patients were incidental to the delivery of healthcare.”

Now that consumers are taking on a larger role in securing their own insurance — and subsequently a greater financial risk as well — the B2B model is no longer the only game in town.

In order to adapt to a business-to-consumer model and generate positive results, organizations must identify and understand consumers better. Segmentation — classifying consumers into homogenous groups based on some measure(s) of similarity (e.g., demographics, socioeconomics, health condition) — is one way to accomplish this. 

This is a critical step that helps ensure that organizations can not only attract and retain patient-consumers, but can also motivate these individuals sufficiently to meet the other legislated mandates that impact profitability, such as:

  • Achieving meaningful use standards for online patient engagement
  • Reducing preventable readmissions
  • Raising HCAHPS patient satisfaction ratings
  • And improving overall health outcomes

c2b Consumer Classifier Offers Deeper Insights

Segmenting consumers in broad categories is not enough. While defining patient populations based on demographics — or even health concerns — is helpful, the c2b Consumer Classifier uses a series of questions to break down consumers into five psychographic segments based on motivations, attitudes regarding health and wellness and even messaging preferences.

  • Self Achievers (24%) — The most proactive and wellness-oriented group, Self Achievers are ready to be in the driver’s seat, but appreciate directive guidance.  They are the most willing to “spend whatever it takes to be healthy.”
  • Balance Seekers (18%) — Balance Seekers are also proactive and wellness-oriented, but they downplay the role of healthcare professionals. They prefer having options, rather than being given a route to wellness already mapped out.  A directive healthcare professional can be a turnoff for Balance Seekers — they prefer more suggestive approaches.
  • Priority Jugglers (18%) — Priority Jugglers tend to be less proactive and less engaged because they put other concerns ahead of personal health (e.g., job, family). They may require a higher level of interaction to keep them focused on a healthier road.
  • Willful Endurers (27%) — Willful Endurers are very independent and the least proactive about health and wellness. The challenge is to find other ways to motivate them to take charge.
  • Direction Takers (13%) — As the name suggests, Direction Takers do not actively seek to drive their wellbeing, reacting only when necessary and then following the route that is prescribed.  This is the segment that reflects the way healthcare has been delivered in the past; unfortunately, this resonates with only 13% of the population.

As the Information Week article emphasized when it quoted William A. Spooner, Sharp HealthCare CIO, “We’re trying to reap a health improvement, but patient engagement doesn’t mean patient accountability.”

Armed with these deeper insights, healthcare providers can identify those patients who are ready to be accountable — in the driver’s seat with just a little navigational help — and those who need more support before they’re ready to strike out on their own.

And in today’s highly competitive, consumer-driven healthcare environment, the ability to reach the right people with the right message at the right time is a critical advantage whether you’re a healthcare provider, an insurance company or a tech company ready to launch the next great mobile health app.

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


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