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New Health IT Requires Strategic Approach to Messaging and Data

strategic-approachIf there is a map for transforming healthcare in the US, health IT systems are the growing network of roads designed to connect patients and providers. 

Health 2.0 News reports that investments in the digital health sector reached $2.3 billion in 2013 and are still accelerating, hitting $747 million in the first quarter of 2014 alone. Keeping up with this fast pace of change demands strategic health care initiatives for healthcare data and health messaging that drive utilization by patients and hospital staff. 

New Partnership Addresses Health IT Challenges

Recognizing that hospitals have a mandate to achieve meaningful use from health IT — but are struggling to achieve that goal — two companies have joined forces. Healthcare IT News recently reported on the combined efforts of Royal Philips and salesforce.com to develop innovative health IT applications on a cloud-based platform.  

Designed to enable data integration from various sources such as EHRs, diagnostic imaging equipment and mobile devices, the apps also leverage salesforce.com’s extensive experience in customer relationship management to improve collaboration between clinicians and patients. 

Jeroen Tas, CEO of Philips Healthcare Information Services, notes that the first two applications produced by this partnership were galvanized by questions like, “How can we make an 80 year-old person with multiple chronic diseases actually start using this technology?” or “How can we have a nurse at a telehealth center actually managing hundreds of patients at a time?” The answer was real-time monitoring — in the form of Philips eCareCoordinator, which helps clinicians monitor patients, and Philips eCareCompanion, which travels home with patients to maintain an on-going connection between patients and providers. 

The expansive vision Philips and salesforce.com share includes the full continuum of care:

  • Prevention and self-management of care

  • Diagnosis and treatment

  • On-going monitoring of chronic conditions

  • Post-discharge recovery

  • Wellness

Philips has already demonstrated success in this arena; its eICU program has helped reduce in-patient stays by 20 percent and mortality rates by 26 percent. 

Ensuring Compliance Requires More Insight into Users

While the number of digital apps that integrate into workflows — and consumer lifestyles — is on an upward trajectory, sheer quantity does not equate to utility or even use. In order to propel usage rates higher, hospitals must know how their staff and patients think. 

Hospitals have already run into the challenges of health IT adoption. 

Physicians and other care providers struggle to integrate new processes into their already busy schedules. Having deep insights into staff concerns and motivations can help hospitals develop action plans and messaging that encourages adoption. 

As challenging as it is to engage users like physicians — who are truly invested in outcomes — driving use among patients may be even more difficult without deeper understanding into consumer hearts and minds. 

When it comes to digital health care solutions, hospitals need to understand which consumers are more likely to adopt technology-based care, and which patients may need a little help with their motivation to do so. This allows an organization to develop more strategic health care messaging — tailored to unique needs of consumers. 

Consumer segmentation offers greater awareness– from surface level understandings based on gender, age, ethnicity and more to behavioral and attitudinal segmentation that group individuals on utilization or attitudes about healthcare. If a hospital wants to target patients at risk of heart disease for higher engagement, for example, consumer research can guide choices related to the ideal demographic — ages 45-54. 

To take the approach a step further, a hospital can use psychographic segmentation, which organizes individuals by shared values, interests and lifestyle. Psychographic segmentation taps into consumers’ motivations and choice drivers.  It can be more powerful than demographic segmentation, as it does not presuppose that all members of an age, gender, ethnic or income group think and act alike.

c2b solutions is partnering with an IT innovator to drive patient activation in care management and to reduce 30 day hospital readmission by integrating psychographic segment-specific messaging and media preferences into automated patient outreach.  The results of these promising efforts will be reported in a later article.

To learn more about how consumer segmentation can help hospitals develop strategic health care messaging to drive higher engagement, contact c2b solutions.

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

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