The Growth Channel

How to attract the high-deductible patient

Emilia Thurber and Alicia Daugherty, Marketing and Planning Leadership Council

A recent survey suggests that consumer-driven health plans (CDHPs) may become the most commonly offered form of employer-sponsored coverage for large companies in the next three to five years, with 56% of surveyed employers with 500 or more employees currently offering CDHPs and another 30% considering offering one. 

Moreover, at 10% of firms, CDHPs are the only coverage option, and another 44% say they are considering offering only this option in the future. Even today, platforms like Castlight, CarePilot, and Optimal Hospital are helping patients take health care decisions into their own hands using price, quality, and patient satisfaction information.

As employers ask them to bear more costs, consumers are asking more from their care providers, seeking additional value from conveniences like online scheduling, email communication, and on-demand care via e-visits and retail clinics. 

To compete for increasingly selective consumers, providers must be able to accomplish the following objectives.

Guide the value conversation

The typical consumer does not have a good working definition of value when it comes to health care, which can cause them to focus exclusively on price. Shift the conversation to the key components of value, including quality, convenience, and service, as well as price. For example, CarePilot, a company that contracts with providers to offer available medical appointments for variety of procedures, defines value as cost and convenience.

Through their website, providers can list open appointments for a variety of services, with varying prices depending on the day and time. Off-peak appointments are often priced at a 10-30% discount, allowing consumers to make tradeoffs based on their priorities.

Other institutions are highlighting the different components of value in their consumer messaging. The advertising campaign from Overlake Medical Clinic shown below highlights quality and price to give consumers a comprehensive understanding of the value of urgent care centers.

Offer 'anytime, anywhere' service

In a world with one-click shopping, Netflix, and over one million iPhone apps, consumers are coming to expect on-demand service in health care as well. To meet patient expectations for 24/7, no-waiting service, many health care organizations are investing in online services and patient portals. 

For example, Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) invested in Carena, a telehealth company, whose CareSimple product offers patients 24/7 access to doctors and nurses. CHI and Carena plan to scale this model nationally.

Hardwire effortless interactions

All clinical providers should be able to help patients navigate across your network by proactively identifying and scheduling needed services. At Kaiser Permanente Orange County Women's Health Services, the EMR alerts physicians about patient care needs regardless of which physician the patient is currently seeing. 

This means that specialists can schedule preventive care visits with the patient’s PCP and vice versa, resulting in high levels of screening compliance and improved health outcomes.

More from the Marketing and Planning Leadership Council

To learn more about attracting selective shoppers, stay tuned for our upcoming research on virtual visits and check out our recent webconference: "How to Attract Regional Partners and Selective Consumers."