The healthcare industry turned to digital communications to help patients better manage chronic disease well before COVID-19 made every interaction a virtual event. Digital tools can help to empower patients to care for their own health, which ultimately improves their health outcomes. But according to Julie Van Inwegen, SVP, Business Development at Adheris Health, it’s not enough to simply offer a digital connection. “You have to provide an engaging, meaningful and individualized experience,” says Van Inwegen.
Studies indicate that while digital technology is especially useful for patients who spend most of their time outside the hospital or doctor’s office, chronic care management programs report dropout rates as high as 80%. When additional research was conducted to better understand the reason for the high dropout rates, frustration with health technology and irrelevant content were cited as two key factors.
Healthcare digital engagement isn’t any different than consumer digital engagement in that if the user finds the interaction difficult, cumbersome, or irrelevant, they drop off. The quality of engagement is essential. In a recent study, 50% of healthcare consumers reported that a bad digital experience can ruin the patient journey, while 39% felt that a good digital interaction had a positive influence. “Utilizing user insight to create a thoughtful user experience is key to developing successful digital health solutions,” explains Van Inwegen. “Connecting live interactions with a seamless digital interaction that provides meaningful and personalized content and resources or rewards, will drive adoption, continued use and trust in that brand.”
Understanding the patient is step one in the development of meaningful engagement. Adheris Health’s THRiVTM platform leverages historic patient behavior to fuel relevant digital messaging and predictive analytics to design programs that project how the patient will respond with the intelligence to self-adjust messaging to specific patient needs throughout their care journey.
Every aspect of a digital campaign needs to be customized as brands strive to create meaningful engagement. For example, one should consider that patients with chronic diseases typically fall into an older demographic. While this point is not likely a revelation, how digital engagement is designed for an older audience is critical to its success. For instance, patients over 40 have difficulty reading text that is small and close together and shades of blue are difficult to distinguish between as we age. So, ensuring text is at least 12-point size, giving the patient the ability to control the font size and staying away from various shades of blue text for interfacing elements will help ensure digital communications are well received by the patient population.
Digital engagement is an effective tool to help give patients the power to live healthier, but its success hinges on creating customized and meaningful engagement that patients actually want, not what creators think they want and combining them with live interactions.
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