Increased focus on value-based care initiatives have expanded early definitions of the term "population health" to encompass more than just a consideration of disease states, but location, race, social determinants of health and more.
Moving toward this more holistic view of population health that encompasses both medical and environmental conditions is key to addressing social determinants of health and improving member outcomes. And yet, such broad strokes can easily leave many members overlooked by the healthcare system, or left behind as initiatives designed to serve greater populations don’t meet individual needs or circumstances.
Digital health, when leveraged appropriately, can help health plans and providers find that balance between affordable population health and quality precision medicine. By helping organizations understand their members and creating customized member experiences, digital health can empower providers and payers to deliver a more personalized population healthcare experience.
Even with very specific member demographics, there’s a lot of variability in individual circumstances.
For example, in Boston, a simple change in zip code can be the difference between living to 68 or 94 years old. And in other counties—like Orange County—just a city block can be the difference between exclusive gated communities and hidden homelessness in motels, cars, and couch surfing.
Without living in these communities, it’s difficult for health plans to know exactly what social determinants each member faces regularly. Routine check-ins that screen for access to healthy food, safe living environments, and more can help health plans and case managers quickly identify individuals who need assistance and connect them with organizations that support social determinants.
Ensuring that these check-ins are regular and through a platform that members are already using.
For example, Wellth periodically polls members as part of their daily check-ins. Because members are already using the app, and the questions take just seconds to answer, it’s easier to get that feedback regularly and respond quickly to outstanding socioeconomic needs.
Population-driven healthcare prerogatives fall short when they fail to offer customization that meets individual needs. But with high buying and implementation costs, building these highly customized programs can be overwhelming and unaffordable—especially for smaller health plans.
Digital health that has AI learning capabilities provides a solution for tailoring programs affordably.
For example, many health plans have tried implementing incentive programs to encourage healthy behaviors and preventative care, but have been unsuccessful in creating lasting change. Just recently, the state of Ohio implemented state-wide incentives to encourage residents to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. While vaccination rates increased 43 percent the first week, subsequent weeks showed steep declines and little long-term progress in achieving desired outcomes.
Using personalized digital motivators that go beyond monetary incentives can increase adherence where traditional incentive programs have fallen short. Instead of static gift cards, offering flexible rewards that members can use to address their own specific needs can be a great start. Coupling those flexible rewards with personalized, AI-driven motivators can further improve program participation and long-term results.
Wellth’s AI was recently recognized by Fast Company as a World Changing Idea. The platform tracks and learns from member behavior, remembering what nudges and motivators—whether social, monetary, or personal/familial—create behavior change, and builds customized member journeys tailored to each individual. These personalized journeys have been effective in achieving high (over 90%) engagement and adherence in traditionally hard-to-reach populations.
As organizations grow, maintaining a high level of personalized care becomes increasingly difficult.
Digital health platforms can help care feel personal by leveraging live support teams—rather than IVR calls or automated phone directories—to help members with program enrollment and to check-in when engagement dips. This targeted, personal outreach makes a significant difference in improving member satisfaction with the program and building long-term member loyalty and success.
“The Wellth Program helped me change my diet and take all my medicine. Wellth always calls whenever there’s a problem and everyone is so nice. Joining is easy because the enrollment specialists give you the instructions on how to use the program and then help you.”
As we’re able to address and improve personal outcomes, the overall health of populations will increase, too—decreasing high-cost utilization, improving clinical and quality metrics, and achieving better health outcomes.
Digital health platforms can support this process by learning, adapting, and automating personalized member journeys—making individualized care not only possible, but scalable and cost-effective, too.
See Linda’s journey