Ferdinand Magellan. Lewis and Clark. Your Tesla-driving neighbor down the street?
These days, those circumnavigating the globe and mapping the American West aren’t the only types of explorers. In the ever-changing world of the new healthcare consumer, we have identified a group we call Interested Explorers. This segment is happy with their current means of engaging with their doctor and insurer, but wants to understand all their options. They are open to new forms of digital engagement, but may not have started to adopt new approaches just yet. So why should you care about this new breed of explorer? Because Interested Explorers are a growing segment of the healthcare marketplace, and they hold the key to increasing digital engagement.
In our webinar Enabling Digital Engagement: Best Practices for Creating Digital consumer Engagement in a Changing Health Industry, we looked at 4 types of healthcare consumers:
Eager Engagers are ready to transition to new, more convenient alternatives to traditional care and engagement.
Interested Explorers are satisfied with their current level of care and engagement, but want to consider their full range of choices. They are interested in digital engagement, but still in the evaluation stage.
Satisfied Stalwarts are comfortable with their current level of engagement through traditional channels. They are happy with the status quo.
Ardent Avoiders are disengaged due to a lack of interest. They would like to ignore healthcare altogether if possible.
While it is important to identify an engagement strategy for each of these audiences, the group most critical to reach is the Interested Explorers – and successfully connecting with them offers the most opportunity for growth and true return on your digital investment.
So who are these modern-day explorers?
The new healthcare consumers are self-reliant and proactive. They are willing to take more risk and responsibility in exchange for lower health insurance premiums. With that, they require a great experience. As healthcare becomes more commoditized and driven by consumer demand, it will be critical to differentiate and win on a services front.
Interested Explorers expect their healthcare digital engagement to be as consumer-focused as any other retail experience. To achieve that, your consumer shopping public site and patient or member portal need to be focused on several key capabilities, including:
- Real-time interaction and access to information. To decrease customer service calls, ensure that the information users need is available to them digitally.
- Personalized experiences. This is critical. Features such as “show me doctors in my network”, or “plans appropriate to my lifestyle, chronic condition, or life events” are a baseline expectation for these users.
- Side by side product comparisons. 43% of consumers surveyed prefer an online healthcare shopping website with different options at different prices, and there are several transparency tools in the marketplace that can provide expected cost information for physicians, services, and prescriptions. For insurers, it is critical to demonstrate the differences in your plans to guide the shopping experience.
- Increased consumer choice. For example, providing the user the ability to build their own plan.
- Be responsive. This means offering the right information at the right time on the right device.
- Self-service capabilities and smart, integrated data. Can you provide decision tools based on past actual behavior?
- Relevant, engaging and sharable content. It is time to retire the endless pages of articles and PDF newsletters. Focus on the most relevant information your consumers need. Leverage content marketing that attracts readers and provides a new way for them to engage with you – outside of service transactions.
- Make an enjoyable, emotional connection. It takes 1/20th of a second for a user to determine if they like a site’s design. This snap judgement will determine if they will trust you, like you, and buy from you. The bottom line – aesthetics matter.
Are your digital experiences meeting these needs – or are the Interested Explorers going to sail right on by? If you’re struggling with how to navigate these challenges, stay tuned for our next Consumer Engagement in Healthcare blog post, where we’ll talk through how to successfully engage with these new healthcare consumers. Or give us a call (312.491.3000) and we’ll gladly be your guide.
 PwC Health Research Institute, Medical cost trend: Behind the numbers 2015, June 2014
 Lindgaard, G., Fernandes, G., Dudek, C. & Brown, J. (2006). Attention Web Designers: You have 50 milliseconds to make a good first impression!, Behaviour & Information technology. 25, 115-126