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Citizen Engagement Blog

Better Citizen Engagement in Healthcare Programs

citizen engagement in government healthcare programsHealthcare is a touchy subject. Throw in program management complexities government healthcare participants don’t see and your program will develop chronic aches and pains at the 10-point level.

For example, the well-publicized, glitch-filled Affordable Care Act enrollment launch last year shined a spotlight on citizen frustration with government health insurance programs. The Healthcare.gov website has since been fixed, but the fallout has been slower to dissipate. State and local health programs, particularly Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and the health insurance exchanges (HIX) are under greater scrutiny than ever.

Let’s face it – most people are confused when enrolling in health programs, handling renewals, looking for answers to questions, updating personal information, and a myriad of other tasks. 

Changing regulations not only affect your agency but also your participants, who themselves are unclear about how to manage programs, options, and support. But what if they had a faster remedy for obtaining information and engagement with your healthcare programs – a clear path to the healthcare services they so desperately need and deserve? And what if you could make it easier for your program staff, both at the agency and local levels, to engage with them?

  • After all, that’s the goal: healthier citizens who have easy access to proper information and care and, ultimately, incur fewer medical expenses because they no longer let things go until it’s an emergency.
  • But to achieve this goal: it has to be simpler for people to interact with government health programs when they first enroll, when managing their care and compliance, and when completing renewals and updates.

Abating the pain scale with engagement technology

That’s where technology can play an important role. I’m talking about secure, scalable voice and digital self-service and messaging solutions that make it fast, easy, and convenient for all types of people, in all types of situations, to “do business” with their state’s Medicaid Management Information System (MMIS), CHIP and state health exchanges – even during high-volume enrollment periods.

The right voice and digital self-service solution can help state and local governments ensure constituent eligibility, maintain accurate data, and safeguard personal health information – without overburdening their workforce.  

Here’s a prescription for effective participant engagement with healthcare programs:


Promote proactivity

Just as people are encouraged to take control of their own health, automated self-service technology – both voice and digital – puts control in the hands of the patient or family. Instead of waiting on hold for help from an overworked government employee, a constituent can access easy-to-follow self-service or live representative interaction options from your mobile app or website that supports them through their program engagement processes.

They can complete their task and get on with things, or log off and pick it up later – if they need additional information or don’t have time right then – without the hassle of starting all over again.  Imagine the compliance and enrollment success rates that would enable! And, efficient and personalized interactive voice recognition (IVR) could simultaneously make it easy for people to find information and conduct a transaction without any intervention by a live representative – guiding them quickly through the right steps applicable to their needs. Of course your healthcare program representatives are available to help those who truly need additional support that can’t be self-managed. 

Get personal 

Especially in healthcare, individualized attention is critical. So why not carry the idea of personalization into constituent engagements with your healthcare programs? Adaptive IVR technology actually “learns” from repeated interactions with a constituent to personalize the interaction based on their indicated preferences and behaviors. This history enables the IVR to present specific program information in the caller’s preferred language and can even shorten the authentication process while maintaining strong security and ensuring HIPAA compliance.

And that’s not all. Some participants may not be used to your IVR menus or may need more time to make selections – others may be very savvy and want to fly through choices to take care of their issues and get off the line fast. Now you can offer an option that slows down or speeds up menu selections and options to meet the needs of each individual.  This audio adaptability is great for the elderly and busy families on the go.

Plan for the worst

Today, preventive healthcare is the watchword in the effort to forestall poor outcomes, such as chronic disease. For government healthcare programs, preventing system overloads is equally important. To maintain citizen confidence and provide high performance, voice and digital constituent engagement solutions must be exceptionally reliable and easily scalable to accommodate spikes, such as during peak enrollment periods. The best solutions rely on hosted cloud platforms with strong reliability and redundancies to protect against interruptions and security breaches and provide seamless scalability. Cloud hosting also relieves your agency’s IT team of administrative and compliance burdens.

As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

A remedy to improve government efficiency

Improved citizen engagement with the lifecycle of government healthcare programs can benefit program outcomes and participant health in multiple ways:

  • Improve efficiencies in provider and third-party engagement – streamlining and automating processes that today may overburden program managers.
  • Create a faster prescription to constituent health – implementing a seamless enrollment, eligibility, and program delivery stream with cross-channel interactions that support your participants’ needs throughout their engagement with you in a more flexible, mobile way.
  • Enhance program and health outcomes – offering constituent engagement options that match their lifestyles and preferred ways of communicating with you, digitally. Did you know that 31% of all smartphones purchased the past year were bought by consumers making less than $30,000 annually? I’ll bet many of these individuals and their dependents are served by your healthcare programs and would prefer to interact conveniently and flexibly from those phones.

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Topics: Process Improvement Human Services