Advanced primary care (APC) is a new way of looking at healthcare. Creating an APC solution takes a significant upfront investment, and breaking old thinking patterns is critical to its success. So is driving effective member engagement.
But change can surface anxieties, even when all agree that the traditional healthcare approach is ripe for disruption.
So, while initiatives that increase patient access to healthcare — like telehealth or other virtual care services — have become more widely accepted in recent months, you can’t ride solely on their tailwinds to ensure engagement. Instead, these initiatives provide an opportunity.
When launching your APC solution and care center, set yourself up to achieve a strong return on investment (ROI) and high engagement levels by devising a well-executed, well-coordinated campaign. Here are a few things to consider.
Emphasize the benefits.
Features are abstract. Benefits are more concrete, personal, and outcome-focused. Center your campaign around what participants can gain from utilizing your care center.
Convenient location: No one likes to be shuttled from provider to provider. It’s time-consuming and the decentralized model increases the likelihood that the care provided will treat only the most obvious issues and symptoms. Instead, position your center as a place where participants can get all their primary care needs addressed at a single, conveniently located care center. This helps ensure there are no gaps in care.
Deeper patient-provider relationship: A smaller pool of patients means more time spent on each one’s unique needs. Healthcare providers can really get to know each of their patients, and patients can feel more confident that care is being coordinated thoughtfully.
No wait times: A healthcare appointment shouldn’t take all day. People are busy, and many wait until their symptoms are urgent before seeking care because they can’t take time away from other responsibilities. No wait times help ensure that health care can be incorporated into someone’s life — not take it over.
Longer appointments: Whether in person or through telehealth or other virtual care services, longer appointment times give the patient and provider an opportunity to connect with their patients. This improves both the provider’s ability to diagnose issues and the patient’s confidence in the care provided.
Primary care: The traditional healthcare model is expensive. High out-of-pocket costs prevent individuals from seeking out regular primary care, even when they need it. Your care center is a solution to that: it provides free and regular access to those primary care services that individuals need but usually try to avoid.
Generic Prescriptions filled onsite: The cost of prescription drugs and the inconvenience of stopping at a participating pharmacy to fill them are two obstacles to care that are nonissues at most care centers.
Tailor your messaging to your audience.
To maximize engagement, it’s important to ensure your messaging resonates with your core audiences. Create targeted campaigns that speak to the benefits each audience will gain as a result of your APC solution and care center. These may include:
For the community:
- Speak to how your care center will meet the unique needs of the community: for example, do you offer after-hours care, multilingual care teams, or interpreters on staff?
- Promote wellness initiatives like fitness challenges, breast cancer awareness month and cancer screenings, blood drives, and even food drives or healthy eating programs.
For your key stakeholders:
- Focus on the anticipated long-term ROI that such a program will offer.
- Highlight data around increased productivity, staff satisfaction and retention, and changes to healthcare costs.
- Consider the ripple effect the launch of your APC program and care center may have on other branches of your business, healthcare providers, and organizations. Anticipate and provide solutions for any issues that may arise and communicate those.
For your members or patients:
- Emphasize how your APC solution and care center will improve their lives, both in the short term through time and cost savings and in the long term through better health outcomes.
- Focus on how primary care should go beyond the most immediate symptoms and how your care center is dedicated to prevention and treating the whole patient.
- Break down all the services that are offered, including any telehealth, virtual care, or care-on-the-go services.
- Explain how patient care is coordinated with specialists outside of the care center.
Announcing your APC program: making use of digital tools
Whether in an urban setting or a more rural one, we’ve become a digital-first society. So embrace those tools when it comes time to announce your APC program and connect with your members. For example:
- Develop an online presence. On your benefits website and in other internal promotional meetings, include as much information as possible about the services you are offering and about participating healthcare providers.
- Invest in creating a user-friendly patient portal and app. Create and publish tutorials that help members maximize its value.
- Create an email campaign that is tailored to each audience.
- Host a lunch & learn series about the care center and the services it will offer
- Mail postcards to employees or members or post flyers in high-traffic locations
- Announce the care center at company, department, and team meetings
APC is a departure from the traditional healthcare model so your program and care center might be met with a certain degree of hesitation at first. A well-executed campaign announcing your program launch will go a long way towards overcoming that hesitation and, ultimately, will lead to higher engagement, a greater ROI, and a lower total cost of care.
Look through our eBook on APC titled Advanced Primary Care — The Front Line Of A Health Revolution and our other resources for even more information about APC best practices and what steps you need to take to successfully launch an APC program.