Saturday, October 01, 2005

Using Direct Marketing to
Change Health Behaviors

Direct marketing excels at creating consumer behavioral change. Our methodologies work consistently and generate millions upon millions of dollars in revenue by motivating customers to purchase.

A perhaps even bigger utilization of these direct marketing techniques is to change behavior toward our own healthcare practices. Healthcare costs will come down only when we take responsibility for our own health. Health insurers who get a handle on using direct marketing as an essential part of Care Management will increase the number of people who become self-motivated to live a healthier life.

The goal is to codify and replicate Care Management team best practices for creating behavioral change by helping them see how our process will help them live better, thus minimizing avoidable healthcare episodes and more intrusive treatments.

To change enrollee behavior we must go beyond persuading, handling objections, overcoming resistance and move toward helping the enrollees visualize how following best practices will enable them to achieve personally important needs.

In this sense, the total Care Management Program becomes a holistic approach, with a rich portfolio of events and communications tools that are available for use by the Care Management Team in one-to-one situations.

It begins with a personal assessment conducted by the local Case Manager of the enrollee and the enrollee’s “family” support team.

This individual information is entered into the Care Management Database and is used to segment enrollees into clusters, based on behavioral factors.

The Care Management Database is integrated with the Care Management Rules Engine to guide the Case Manager Team in the selection of the most appropriate protocols and communications paths for each enrollee situation.

This will enable us to pose relevant questions, converse situationally, provide positive motivation and empower enrollees to solve problems, satisfy physical and emotional needs and achieve personal goals.

Pre-plan and create predictable conversations where the healthcare team can create compliant behavior on the part of the consumer. Begin by plotting the primary interests that each person in the communications net has regarding health compliance and positive social living habits and activities. Understand their needs and then flow chart the barriers, the relevant information and conversations that need to take place and construct messages that consistently use questions to guide the target audience toward making the right decision.

First understand the situational context with a Diagnosis and Objective for each prioritized cluster of consumers who share a common lifestyle situation, and then establish a contextually relevant conversation to help the target take charge and improve his or her life.

This conversation follows a consistent process: Challenge, Reward, Action, Confirmation -- and uses a range of media from the portfolio, including calls or visits by Case Managers, or social workers, call center communications, videos, eMail, etc.

For example:

Diagnosis: Enrollee frequently forgets to exercise and take medication

Objective: The Enrollee needs to establish an exercise ritual.

An Example of the Contextual Conversation:

Challenge: If you knew taking a 10-minute walk each day for the next 5 days

Reward: would help you sleep better at night

Action: would you rather take this walk in the morning or the afternoon?

Confirmation: Great! That’s when I take my walk, too.

Another example:

Challenge: If I bring you a free watch with a little alarm in it

Reward: that can remind you to take your walk in the afternoon

Action: would that be a good way to let you know or would you rather I give you a call each afternoon?

Confirmation: Perfect … I know you will feel better when you get a good night’s rest.

A Third Example:

Challenge: Did you know that

Reward: a lot of people also use this watch to remind them its time to take their prescriptions, too?

Action: Would you like me to set the alarm on your watch to tell you when it is time to take your medicine?

Confirmation: I will bring you a watch tomorrow when I visit to check out how you are doing. Part of feeling better is doing the right things for yourself each day.

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