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UnitedHealth Exec Offers 5 Tips on Patient Engagement

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, August 14, 2013

1.Align with care delivery
Sandy says it is important to avoid siloed or one-off patient engagement programs that are disconnected from care delivery systems. UnitedHealth reached outside the healthcare industry for advice from industries such as banking and retail that have more experience with consumer messaging, especially the call to action.

"You have to have a program that is coherent to the person you are trying to engage," says Sandy. "If it is just a disconnected one-off program then the consumer has no way to understand how it fits into anything else they are doing with their health."

He adds that it is important to have the same message repeated and reinforced from multiple angles. UnitedHealth's HealtheNotes program, for example, sends simultaneous messages and reminders to the patient and doctor regarding important screenings such as diabetic eye screenings. "That way the doctor and patient can have a conversation about the same message."

2.Target the message
Sandy says, "you have to target the message not only for what is most important for health, but also for what is the most actionable for that consumer. What do we want people to focus on that will have a maximum impact on their health? How can we make this important step easy for the consumer to do?"

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