Engagys and RISE have collaborated once again to release our 5th annual State of Healthcare Engagement Survey. Here’s a sneak peek on what the 2020 findings revealed. Engagys Managing Director Kathleen Ellmore will review the full survey findings during the RISE 2021 Medicare Marketing & Sales Summit, a live-streaming virtual event, Feb. 22-23.

This research survey is designed not only to help better understand the rate at which health care organizations have adopted the techniques pioneered by consumer marketing firms, but also to highlight the evolution of each technique or priority area annually. Yet this year provided us with a unique perspective. As COVID-19 continues to grip the world, response trends from previous years have changed.

The survey was released in November of 2020, and our methodology closely mirrored our previous approaches, with analysis based upon responses from individuals working across approximately 100 health plans, providers, and other health care entities. The nature of our respondents and the organizations they represent offers us wide variation in the adoption and sophistication of advancing practices. However, what has not varied is the continued focus and growth of consumer engagement in the health care industry. So what did the 2020 findings reveal?

An increase in the use of multiple outreach channels

Recent survey results show us that the use of digital channels has quickly gained momentum as more costly channel use has begun to plateau. Given the pandemic and its dramatic acceleration of digital adoption by seniors this is not a surprise. Grandma knows how to “Zoom” with the grandkids, and she has seen her doctor using Facetime. Across member populations email is used more frequently, potentially indicating that faster communications were critical in 2020. Additionally, it appears that both speed and flexibility do propel effectiveness of outreach channels as both email and SMS text outreach were deemed more successful means of outreach than in previous years.

These survey findings validate what we have long known about multi-channel outreach and member engagement. Meeting consumers on preferred channels will lift response.

Complex impediments to success

When queried regarding impediments to success, respondents noted that more complex challenges have elevated some concerns, such as interdepartmental issues, skills, and budget higher than they had been in previous years. Likewise, a long-time impediment, data access, now continues to drop in concern versus past response years.


Again, Engagys’ work with clients has validated that communications governance is a particularly challenging issue at health plans. Frequently, communications are developed with limited governance, perpetuating member abrasion problems across the enterprise. Implementing communications governance and action arbitration—ensuring choke and control communications at the population level and at the member level—can drive optimization and cost savings. All while improving the member experience.

Measuring engagement and the value of SDoH programs

Almost half of survey respondents find benefits from consumer engagement.  Nearly a quarter reported a “great deal” of positive impact. Interestingly, response rates are the most common way to measure engagement programs followed closely by quality and clinical outcomes—not cost or ROI. For SDoH programs helping members and improving care are the key metrics for success measurement—again not cost or ROI. Within SDoH programs, behavioral health efforts have had the most success.




In our work with clients, we have seen significant portions of budgets consumed by poorly managed communications, and as a result, we have also seen an increasing focus on identification of cost savings by moving from print to digital communications. Cost savings can then subsidize infrastructure investments required to enhance consumer engagement. 

Medicare Marketing and Sales Summit


The above findings showcase the role COVID-19 has played in our respondents’ areas of focus. Now more than ever, effective communication is critical to driving member satisfaction and trust. Join us at 1:20 p.m. EST, Monday, February 22nd at the virtual RISE Medicare Marketing & Sales Summit 2021 where Engagys Managing Director Kathleen Ellmore will review the full survey findings in her session entitled Unveiling the Fifth Annual Survey of Healthcare Consumer Engagement Practices.