Shannon O'Connell, senior manager, Engagys, shares the biggest takeaways after moderating the consumer focus panel,  Direct Insights into Addressing Social Determinants of Health from Patients Themselves, at The RISE Summit on Social Determinants of Health in Nashville last month.

Recently at the RISE Summit on Social Determinants of Health, I had the privilege of co-moderating a panel of consumers affected by social determinants of health (SDoH) barriers. We had a candid conversation with six panelists who shared their real and important opinions on their health experiences, access to care, and ways to improve health plan and medical care services. The reason we co-hosted this panel was to hear firsthand the challenges this population faces daily and then turn these powerful insights into action. When incorporating their feedback into programs and services, health care organizations can improve not only the health care they receive but also their overall quality of life. While each panelist faces unique challenges, we found common ground throughout. Here are the top insights from the panelists on how to influence positive change.

More Personalization

When it comes to getting support on managing their unique health conditions, all the panelists wanted information that was personalized to their specific diagnosis and needs. A few mentioned that getting personalized health information right after a new diagnosis would have been extremely helpful. Another panelist said that getting a booklet after diagnosis from their health plan that detailed how to better deal with their condition, what is covered, and what other services are available seemed like a no-brainer on how to support condition management.

Panelist Quote:

“If I had someone who would give me more information on how to more deal with my specific situation, chronic kidney disease, watching my intake of potassium and phosphorus, these are things that I never knew. So yeah, if someone could give me information on my situation and single it out.”

Panelist Quote:

“If the (health insurance) providers provided a booklet to be sent to us when we are diagnosed that would be your provider and your condition, say for example UnitedHealthcare and Diabetes – What You Can Expect and Your Benefits. I mean, that’s just simple. It’s a booklet that would go to you when you get diagnosed.”

More Communication Channels

Each panelist liked their communications from different channels but agreed that they often got it from more than one channel source. One panelist said she got monthly phone calls from a nurse but didn’t answer because she didn’t recognize the number. She would listen to the voicemails later though. With that insight, a better way to reach and engage this population would be through multi-channel communications all pointing to more information that would either come through the mail, be accessed online through email or the portal, or through a call-back number. Another strategy that health organizations should employ here is capturing and using member channel preference as some had strong feelings about how they wanted to receive the information.

Panelist Quote

“I do get a lot of phone calls – a lot of voicemails because I don’t recognize the number so it goes to voicemail but they give a call-back number, call you back, and they want to know how you’re doing. I get those calls probably once a month.”

Panelist Quote

“As long as you make sure it (the email) goes to my inbox, I will see it.”

Panelist Quote

“I get some from email, but I go to the website. I have an account with my health plan, and I can look up all my claims and basically the booklet you get through the mail, all that information is there and I’ll look through that.”

More Social Media Presence

The panelists that are active on social media revealed that they don’t see any information about health plans when visiting those sites and that it would be helpful way to get health plan information. Social media is seen as a valid channel to get information and enhancing your organization’s social media presence is a great way to remind current members about their benefits and advertise to potential members.

Panelist Quote:

“I mean for me, I’m on social media. I’m on Facebook. I’m on Instagram and a lot of other things and there’s commercials on some of them. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an insurance commercial on any of them. So for me, I guess that would be beneficial if you could see it on that if you are on social media a lot.”

This article is an excerpt from a blog post originally published by Engagys, LLC. To view the full article, click here.