Digital Activation of Patients Is a Requirement for Success in Value-Based Maternity Care

Digital Activation of Patients Is a Requirement for Success in Value-Based Maternity Care

Value-Based Care, Digital Health, Providers, Maternity

When launching a value-based care model for maternity, there are many factors that will influence how successful the approach will be. One of the most critical pieces is your ability to digitally activate patients. It’s universally accepted that any value-based efforts must start with the patient at the center. And yet, too often there isn’t enough attention, effort and commitment given to patient activation. How do you support better clinical interactions? How do you maintain engagement between visits? How do you facilitate referrals and connections to care? How do you encourage the adoption of digital tools available to patients as part of this new proactive model? 

Here are a few winning tactics and tools, based on Wildflower’s client base, that can be used to reach patients and create lasting connections via digital health technologies.      

Build a Consent Database

A good place to start with your patient population is to create and grow a list of patients who opt in to ongoing communications from your organization. Email is a great tool for this, if it is an option that is available to you. With our clients at Wildflower, we’ve seen emails that offer education and support for pregnant patients perform well beyond healthcare industry standards. In fact, open and click through rates for these emails are three times higher than industry averages. Once you’ve made a successful connection via email, it is an easy transition to ongoing engagement. This gives you a golden opportunity to communicate with patients, share how they can actively participate in their care and ensure they know how to access essential tools such as digital health apps and remote monitoring devices. 

Engage Clinicians

The care team that interacts directly with patients during office visits is the absolute best engagement tactic you have at your disposal. Make sure digital tools are integrated into clinical workflows so that it is easy for providers to recommend an app or a key resource during the course of a patient visit. Even better, make sure the digital tools you are leveraging for value-based care actually support the delivery of care from the very beginning. If you are making life easier for the care team, including helping them practice at the top of their license, they will do their best to make sure each and every patient is participating. 

Investing in training for the entire staff so that the front desk, the office manager, nurses, physicians, everyone ensures the team understands the importance of patients getting engaged digitally. Be clear about the “why” and make the conversation around and use of digital tools part of the organizational culture. It should become second nature for all staff to prioritize patient activation. 

Seeking out a clinical champion can be a successful approach, as can incorporating a health advocate who focuses on patient activation for the care team. In some cases, this can be an internal resource. It can also be effectively outsourced to an external partner who is supporting your value-based care delivery.

As a data point, more than 75 percent of Wildflower’s clients engage their clinical teams in patient outreach for digital tools, while 50 percent lean on clinical as the lead outreach channel. 

Maximize Your Owned Media

You should be promoting the digital tools required for value-based care across all your own existing channels. We regularly see organizations missing opportunities in this area. Think about your main website, your patient or member portal, your social media properties, really where ever you consider a digital stronghold for your organization. Any effective communication channel already under your control should be part of your marketing mix. Make a checklist of all existing delivery methods to ensure you are taking full advantage of key and contextually relevant resources. 

Leverage Current Marketing Trends

Stay up to speed on what’s working in the marketing world. There are many best practices you can glean from across the healthcare industry, and beyond it. A great example is the use of QR codes. After almost going extinct in recent years, the COVID-19 pandemic has fueled a grand resurgence for this marketing technique. It’s tailor made for serving up information in a zero-contact manner. It also ensures patients carry the information with them in a more lasting way than a pamphlet that likely doesn’t make it home. If you are aware of this trend, you can respond by looking for ways to add QR codes to your marketing materials and within clinical workflows. Patients are consumers, so techniques that are proven to engage them outside of healthcare typically work just as well in a healthcare setting. 

Build a Strategic Activation Plan 

All of the tactics above are great, and they will work. But without a project plan for patient activation, you will still fall short. Understanding the calendar year and your specific patient population is critical. As an example, the first few months of the year are typically higher enrollment months for Wildflower clients when it comes to digital solutions. That informs your activation strategy, but also your continuing engagement strategy in the digital solution as the year continues. 

Additionally, knowing where your new activations are coming from and which channels are making an impact is also key. So, make sure you have appropriately developed ways to assign attribution across your various marketing tactics as part of your plan.

Consistency is key. Without a plan, you will likely not be as consistent as you need to be when promoting digital tools to your population.

Is your organization in the process of designing a value-based care initiative for maternity? Are you already actively trying to engage patients in a value-based care environment? Our team is standing by to share additional best practices and to help you evaluate your overall approach to making the transition to value-based care. Contact us to learn more. You can also dive deep into all that is required to design and implement a value-based maternity care model by visiting