How Psychographic Segmentation Can Improve the Use of Electronic Health Records
Despite a slow start in embracing electronic health records, adoption rates have climbed steadily. As of 2015, most hospitals have implemented certified EHR technology — from small rural ones at 94 percent to large health systems at 98 percent. It’s a major leap considering that only two years earlier, the adoption rate was less than 60 percent.
Each visit, the diagnosis and prescription gets catalogued, but those details paint an incomplete portrait of the patient.
Yet, according to a study published in Medicine earlier, electronic health records use has not delivered the promised benefits. Most notably, the article’s authors say, “… the effect of EHR adoption was not associated with improved patient outcomes (specifically inpatient mortality, readmissions, and complications).” That’s not to say that that electronic health records can’t have a positive impact, but if your EHR isn’t proving as useful as you had hoped, maybe you need to supplement the patient data with psychographic segmentation.
Using Psychographic Segmentation to Understand Patients
The problem with the data currently housed in most electronic health records is that it only captures a patient’s interactions with healthcare. Each visit, the diagnosis and prescription gets catalogued, but those details paint an incomplete portrait of the patient — one that lacks the insights you need to drive greater patient engagement. Psychographic segmentation enables you to see a patient beyond a diagnosis. How? It classifies patients based on motivations, beliefs about health and wellness and lifestyle factors.
For example, c2b solutions psychographic segmentation model defines five segments:
• Balance Seekers are hands-on in terms of health and wellness, but not tied to healthcare professionals as the only resource when it comes to information and advice related to health.
• Willful Endurers are self-reliant — some might say stubborn — and tend to do what they want, going to the doctor only out of necessity.
• Priority Jugglers are more reactive about their own health, while staying highly proactive regarding the health of their loved ones.
• Self-Achievers — Proactive and motivated when it comes to health and wellness, they tend to tackle health issues aggressively through research and regular check-ups.
• Direction Takers, as the name suggests, look to healthcare professionals for advice but often struggle to follow it despite best intentions.
If your EHR represents the “Cliffs Notes” of a patient, then psychographic segmentation complementing your EHR gives you the unabridged story. Psychographics provide a lens and context to interpret the attitudes and motivations behind the data reported by an EHR. Let’s look at how having the full story helps.
Benefits of Knowing Your Patients Better
For some years now, hospitals have been working towards the meaningful use goals set by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to incentivize adoption of electronic medical records. As the Journal of AHIMA reported earlier this year, however, the CMS plans to replace the current program after this year. What that program will entail remains to be seen, but the article suggests that the new program will likely move away from rewarding providers for EHR use and focus instead on achieving better outcomes. And outcomes, as we all know, often depend heavily on patient engagement and behaviors.
The ability to fine-tune your communications to reach patients where they prefer helps to motivate higher levels of engagement and health management.
With added insights from psychographic segmentation, hospitals will be better positioned to successfully drive engagement through more targeted, relevant communications with their patients. For example, when used in combination with an automated communications platform, hospitals can push out personalized communications via text, voice, email or apps. The ability to fine-tune your communications to reach patients where they prefer, with keywords and messages that fit in with each patient’s unique beliefs, helps to motivate higher levels of engagement and health management.
And if outcomes become the litmus test for CMS rewards — or penalties — related to use of electronic health records, you’ll need to move the needle on engagement quickly. Moreover, as you compete for the attention of today’s empowered healthcare consumers, the ability to connect with patients on a more personal and meaningful level can help build brand loyalty and improve revenue cycle management — two goals that are critical to success as healthcare continues to shift towards value- and quality-based reimbursement. What else could you achieve with greater insights into what your patients need, want and expect from you?