My psychologist attempted to get me to blame my body for failing me. When the complete opposite was true, my extreme physical condition and large brain reserve were what actually saved my life.
Notice that this has nothing to do with wanting to get patients better recovered, it is all about saving costs.
One of the most vexing questions facing healthcare institutions is how best to communicate with patients in a way that will motivate them, especially at a time when patients have to make more healthcare decisions than ever before. As healthcare facilities and payers try out different patient engagement approaches in a bid to stem healthcare costs, health IT companies using self-assessments to classify patients and provide more targeted messaging has become more common.
But self assessments are varied and aim to group patients into manageable categories based on demographics, behavior, socio-economics, and other factors. The co-founders of c2b solutions, a company founded by veterans of Procter & Gamble’s healthcare division, believe a deeper self-assessment to find out values, interests and lifestyles are essential in getting to the bottom of what really motivates and influences patients. In an effort to figure out how best to reach P&G customers, they built several psychographic models, honing the predictability of the self-assessment tools and practical applications based on them.
In a phone interview, Brent Walker, chief marketing officer of c2b solutions, said the experience at P&G put he and his co-founders on the path to construct their current platform for healthcare self-assessments. They believe that it is the most accurate in classifying patients according to their psychographic segments.
The self-assessment exercise Walker and his co-founders developed uses 12 questions to zero in on a patient’s personality. In turn, that helps to identify what their healthcare priorities are. Walker refers to the psychographic segmentation classifier questionnaire as its c2b consumer diagnostic. The classifications include: balance seekers, willful endurers, priority jugglers, self achievers and direction takers. Walker claimed the assessment has a 91 percent accuracy rate. A recent white paper explaining the company’s approach said:
“One patient may be motivated by a sense of duty to family, while another patient is driven by a need for personal control over a disease; both patients adhere to a physician’s recommendations and are dedicated to healthy behaviors, but the impetus — and ways to communicate with, and motivate, these patients — differ.As a way of justifying why a new approach is needed, the company noted in the white paper that conventional health education is not enough. If it were, medical professionals themselves wouldn’t be overweight because if anybody should know the health risks of obesity, it’s physicians and nurses. That’s why, in order to reach their patients, these healthcare professionals stand to benefit from having the insight of marketing professionals – namely consumer segmentation, the white paper pointed out.
Mass approaches to patient communications (whether education or marketing) will not suffice in health care. To address this opportunity, many health care organizations will need to be employing consumer segmentation to understand the differences among patients and attempt a more personalized approach to patient care.Explaining his company’s approach, Walker concluded what many others have: a health condition does not define a person. Sure, it can influence their behavior, but it doesn’t necessarily change who they are.
“We’re not doctors, we’re marketers,” Walker explained. “We can help strengthen healthcare [partners] efforts without getting in the way.”
As part of its evolution as a business, c2b solutions developed a close alliance with PatientBond, a company that licenses c2b’s psychographic segmentation classifier and messaging insights to strengthen and differentiate its capabilities, Walker said. Walker referenced a surgery prep pilot from PatientBond with an unnamed hospital as an example of c2b’s platform in action.
About two or five days before surgery, patients were sent messages on how to prepare for their surgery, based on which one of the five psychological segments they fall into. Patients were also sent seven messages checking in with them after they were discharged on the progress of their recovery. These messages include a response mechanism for patients to report on their recovery status. If the patient’s response generates a red alert, it indicates poor recovery progress and a nurse immediately receives a message, prompting them to check in with patients. Of the 100 patients involved, 85 percent were compliant.
PatientBond is also collaborating with a multi-state health system on a pilot program for congestive heart failure. The idea is to roll out more pilots for other conditions and procedures associated with high healthcare costs. By improving engagement with patients, the hope is that doctors will be able to communicate more effectively with them, make better use of the time they have with patients and reduce the costs that stem from poor adherence.