7 Benefits Digital Health Education Brings to Care Management

Tom Williams, Healthwise Partner Business Manager, Payer Market Solutions

There was a man, we’ll call him John, who suddenly started having bad headaches. The headaches came out of nowhere, and sometimes they were so bad John had to call in sick to work and spend the day lying down. John was referred to a neurologist who suspected the problem might be temporal arteritis—a condition involving inflamed blood vessels that can cause blindness. One way to test for temporal arteritis is with a biopsy, or a procedure that removes a section of artery. Fearing for his eyesight, John scheduled the surgery, but then had a chance conversation with a friend who worked in healthcare. That friend gave John some educational resources about temporal arteritis. As John read through the health education, he saw that biopsy isn’t the only way to test for the condition—an ultrasound is another option that’s less invasive and less costly than surgery. Although John’s neurologist was following procedure when they recommended the surgery, John was instead able to get an ultrasound and found out that he did not have temporal arteritis. John is now on a medicine to treat his condition, and his headaches have stopped.

If John had gone through with the surgery, he would have gotten the same relieving news—no temporal arteritis—but the surgery would have been expensive and disruptive. Instead, John was able to educate himself and advocate for a different option, which saved money for both him and his health insurance plan. This scenario is a win for everyone, and studies show that more educated members mean lower health care costs. So how can payers help members be more like John—educated and engaged with their health? One way is by making it easy for care managers to provide quality health education.

Making Care Managers’ Lives Easier

We know care managers are overstretched. They’re busy, talking to loads of members each day. They often use multiple computer applications to get their jobs done, which means mental energy wasted on task switching (not to mention switching between actual windows and tabs on their computers). On top of that, if they don’t have access to a health education library, they must search online for resources to share with members—a practice that wastes time and could result in members receiving conflicting or poor-quality health education.

Here's how a quality digital health education solution can streamline the work of care managers:

  • Increased time to engage with members. When care managers have easy access to a centralized, curated health education library, they don’t have to scour the internet for health information. Instead, they’re freed up to spend more time having meaningful conversations with members.
  • Easy access within their workflow. Good digital health education solutions integrate seamlessly into the systems that care managers already use, making it easy for them to share information from a comprehensive health library without a lot of extra clicking.
  • Provides a single voice of education. Payers and care managers can rest easy knowing that all members enterprise-wide are getting the same consistent, trustworthy health information.
  • Interactive insights to track member activity. Many health education solutions include interaction tracking tools, so care managers can see how members have engaged with digital education—whether they’ve opened a document or watched a video. These insights help care managers shape effective conversations and care plans for each member.
A care manager speaks on the phone with a patient

Bringing Benefits for Members

Digital health education solutions also bring benefits for members. They allow care managers to share the information members need in the formats they prefer.

  • Preferred contact methods. These days, many people won’t pick up a phone call, but they will read a text or email—so digital health education is more likely to reach members since it can be shared online or via text. (But don’t worry, health education can still be printed for those who want hard copies.)
  • 24/7 availability in one place. Members know they can always access health education in their member portal anytime, anywhere, rather than hunting through stacks of paper on their coffee table.
  • Education that supports health literacy. Health education that’s accredited must meet quality standards that ensure the education is understandable and evidence-based. Plus, providing accredited health education keeps payers in compliance with state regulations.

Health care costs are rising across the industry, but when members better understand their health, they’re more engaged and can avoid unnecessary spending—just like John did. Give care managers the health education tools they need to keep members engaged and informed, while granting them more time to connect with members. Want to learn six strategies for making the most of your digital care management program? Join us for our upcoming webinar with Cognizant on June 30 to find out more.