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Enhancing the Health Care Experience

by Yvette Bright

Today’s consumer has never been more connected—through laptops, cell phones, tablets and wearable devices. We can order a cab, make dinner reservations, instantly withdraw cash from banks in nearly every country on earth and buy whatever our hearts desire, any hour of the day. Our lives are powered by easy access to information. Therefore, the expectations are no different for health care consumers, who, like retail customers, want experiences that are personalized, engaging and relevant to their own lives. And, they want them to be quick and easy.

At Independence Blue Cross (Independence), we are reimagining how people in the Philadelphia region interact with their health plan by enhancing their digital and in-person member experiences with us.

Mobile technology is a vital component of our efforts to promote member engagement and decision-making. We do this by connecting our members directly to the consumer support tools they need to make the best decisions about their health care. As such, we’re shifting away from the traditional transactional one-way communication which previously required members to come to us for information, toward a more interactive, two-way conversation.

One of the ways we communicate with members in the way they want to be reached is through IBX Wire, a digital program from Relay Network that provides our members with their own personalized, private and HIPAA-compliant messaging network. Launched in 2013, IBX Wire helps our members maximize their plan benefits and stay healthy through proactive outreach and education via secure messaging. Through IBX Wire we are helping our members stay healthy by addressing gaps in care when they are identified, such as reminding a member living with diabetes to get an annual HbA1C blood test, and allowing us to increase our ability to educate and engage members where they are.

For example, we can remind our members when it’s time for screenings or other preventative measures, like flu shots—and the communication is making a real difference. In fact, members who are connected to IBX Wire were 160 percent more likely to get a preventative screening. In a recent study, members who received the IBX Wire message about cervical cancer screenings were 1.6 times more likely to get screened within three months as compared to members who were not sent the message. Results were similar for colorectal cancer screening reminders.

Changing health behaviors can often be very difficult, which makes results like these— that may actually save lives—that much more noteworthy.

We feel so strongly about the importance of enhancing our members’ digital experience that we made a strategic investment in the Relay Network last year. This decision was firmly rooted in research showing that American customers are often frustrated by their interactions with their service providers—both large and small.

Complementing IBX Wire, in September we launched Independence, a 10,000-squarefoot, state-of-the-art customer and community center that offers many experiential health and wellness features.

Occupying the second floor of 1919 Market Street, Independence LIVE creates a new experience for our customers, one they have not seen or probably expected from their health insurer. Open to the public, it features a variety of customer service and wellness programs, including:

• Fitness classes like yoga, Zumba and more, as well as financial well-being, health and nutrition classes

• A full kitchen for healthy cooking demonstrations

• A tech arcade where guests can test various health and wellness tools and mobile apps

• Free blood pressure screenings

• Licensed Super Agents who can answer benefit questions, take payments and enroll people in individual coverage

Independence LIVE and IBX Wire are just the latest additions to Independence’s portfolio of resources and digital programs to enhance our customer’s experience. Together, these member-focused resources set a new standard in consumer engagement, increase member satisfaction and create a more simplified health care experience.

Both IBX Wire and Independence LIVE deliver on Independence’s commitment to put the consumer at the center of all that we do —what we call human-centered innovation. We do this to enhance the member experience and to improve people’s health. Sometimes the change is significant. Sometimes it’s even dramatic. And, we think aiming for dramatic change should be the goal.

Yvette Bright is the Chief Operating Officer of Independence Blue Cross.

Published (and copyrighted) in Philly Biz, Volume 1, Issue 10 (September, 2016).
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