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Small Health Plans Sharpen Their IT Strategies

Margaret Dick Tocknell, for HealthLeaders Media, October 24, 2012

According to the survey, over the next three to five years health plans will focus on these investments areas:

Consumer Engagement

Donahue-Dalton says there will be an emphasis on building personal relationships between an individual and a service provider, with a focus on the individual. "It's not about the health plan. It's about that individual's health, their chronic disease, their caregivers, and how they search for a doctor or hospital. It's personal."

Noting that consumers are comfortable in the online retail world where there is a great deal of price and relationship transparency, consumers are expecting that same level of engagement with their health plans, Donahue-Dalton says.

They want to be able to select a plan, get a cost quote, and have their claims paid correctly and quickly.  But they also want their health plans to help them watch their health, remind them about needed tests, and subsidize their weight loss programs and gym memberships.

And, they want all of this in a streamlined process. "It's a huge challenge," says Donahue-Dalton. "Health plans are going to have to take that leap into meeting members where they are."

According to the survey, payers are focusing their consumer engagement initiatives primarily in these areas: enhanced web portals, health insurance exchanges, and member incentives, including wellness programs and education.

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