How the Digital Experience Impacts Health Insurance

Here’s how we meet our members’ digital expectations.

Daniel Royer is the Director of Digital Experience at Select Health.

We live in a digital world where information and opportunity are readily available at our fingertips. We use online searches daily to learn more about a topic to curb our curiosity and get details about things that interest us. The digital experience is a powerful influencer that can impact how we interpret or perceive a company, even before we have the chance to interact with them. Today, digitalization has become a consumer expectation across all industries including health insurance, and it heavily impacts the overall consumer experience.

Healthcare and insurance industries have historically been viewed as slow adopters of digital-first strategies, but that is drastically changing as organizations, like Select Health, have shifted focus to creating value in their digital tools that meet 21st century consumer expectations.

Our goal is to provide tools—like the Select Health website, member portal, and mobile apps—that members find valuable and useful as they navigate and learn about their healthcare and health insurance needs. Digital is fast paced and requires ongoing observation and collaboration with various teams. We work closely with caregivers throughout the organization to evaluate and update our digital tools to ensure we are providing value and aligning our efforts with offline initiatives to create a more unified Select Health experience.

Digitalization matters now more than ever

Consumer expectations, behaviors, and preferences have changed over the years to favor digitalization because it provides the ability to research, watch, listen, and shop from anywhere and from multiple devices. With tech giants constantly innovating in the digital space and developing new tools to improve the experience, consumers anticipate a seamless digital experience. From their vantage point, it doesn’t matter if the interaction occurred online or via a phone call—it is all one experience. This perspective does not change with health insurance. Members look for the same accessibility and flexibility when it comes to managing their plan. I believe this is where digital can play an innovative and connective role in the overall member experience. Access to health data, plan information, and care options allow members to make quick, informed decisions about their health whenever and wherever. And while we offer this access through our digital tools, it’s the consistency with our offline channels, such as our Member Advocates® team, that provides the greatest value for our members.

Key characteristics of our digital tools

Creating a great experience and bringing value to our members requires a focus on five key digitalization characteristics: quality, simplicity, consistency, seamlessness, and personalization. It starts with providing a stable and reliable experience that can be accessed anywhere.

Next, our digital tools need to be simple and easy to navigate. Members must be able to find exactly what they need with minimal clicks and searching. When they do find the information they are looking for, it has to be consistent and seamless, especially with the care delivery side. Part of meeting member expectations is ensuring their health information and clinical data is accurate and up-to-date, and that members can find everything they need to manage their health in a single experience.

Lastly, the experience has to be personalized. No two members are alike, and each have different motivations when using the tools. The more personalized and guided we can make the digital experience, the more they feel connected to us as a long-term partner in their health.

Transparency in digitalization

Digitalization is also a key component in responding to federal transparency rules, which require insurers and health systems to show the costs of services and allow members to see prices before receiving services. This regulation is a shift in the industry and is a positive move toward shedding light on medical pricing. Digital tools like our cost estimator empower members to make wise choices about their financial commitments beforehand. This is an important component of helping members understand their healthcare benefits and the associated services.

Impact of digitalization and digital tools

Beyond providing immediate access to health and insurance information, digital platforms can help improve the overall member experience in a variety of ways.

Helping members make informed decisions and putting them back in control
Insurance can be complicated, and many consumers feel overwhelmed with the terminology and different plan options available to them. This increases the challenges of making a purchasing decision or determining how and when to receive care. From viewing their deductibles or costs associated with a particular service or medication to accessing their ID card and plan details, we provide tools that empower members to take an active role in their care journey.

Reducing friction and breaking silos
By personalizing the digital experience, we can fill the gaps that previously existed in communicating and connecting with members. We can meet members where they are in the decision-making process and help guide them in order to alleviate unneeded stress, save time, answer questions, and ultimately help support their health goals. Our member portal is designed specifically with these objectives in mind. In addition, our integration with the care delivery side and Intermountain Health allows us to surface relevant clinical information, online appointment scheduling, and access to telehealth services, all without requiring the member to recall multiple log-ins or download multiple apps.

Preparing for digital advancement
The digital landscape is changing quickly, and the survival of digital tools will depend on its ability to simplify the overall member experience, connect members with their healthcare journey regardless of their chosen provider, and link to other healthcare tools like wearable devices and fitness trackers. As consumers adopt more digital technologies and their expectations are driven by experiences outside of healthcare, health systems and insurers will be required to update processes and systems to continue to deliver value to their members. We continue to monitor the future of digitalization and work to prepare our current systems, tools, and even members for digital advancements.

Digital experience is an enabler of the member journey. Our goal continues to be ensuring members have a positive experience—whether that is offline or online—and are able to become champions of their own health journey with the digital tools we provide. Each touchpoint a member has with us is an opportunity to assist them along the way and provide support. Our digital tools are only laying the groundwork for what is to come on the digital front in the insurance industry.

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