Elevating a simpler digital experience to increase member engagement
Simplified, personalized and connected. These are hallmarks of the experience more and more consumers expect as virtual care options and a digital-first mindset gain steam.
Digital transformation and consumer-centricity go hand in hand. Across today’s health care industry, improving the consumer experience is now the core goal of digital investments for health plans and providers. With seamless and personalized digital experiences — the new normal across so many other industries — a majority of health care technology executives say better customer service and engagement is the top outcome they aim to achieve.1
The digital experience
Today, most consumers expect simple and seamless access to their health care information across devices and platforms, similar to an online retail shopping experience. And they’re looking for cost-saving opportunities and greater price transparency while maintaining quality for health care services and prescription drugs.
“Employers are looking to us to provide the products and solutions that help make health care more affordable and easier to use,” says Samantha Baker, chief consumer officer for UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual. “Our digital experience is designed to help make it easier for employees to access the tools, resources and benefit information they want at their convenience."
"We’re committed to keeping pace with member expectations for digital tools and resources that help them access their benefits and care when and where they need it."
Driving utilization with a more integrated experience
A strong digital experience can start with consumers being able to easily find the health care information they need, where and when they want it.
Given this, UnitedHealthcare has created a digital “front door” experience that helps to optimize delivery of information across an employee’s computer, mobile and tablet. It’s meant to help deliver what employees and their families search for most online: a network provider, details about a claim and information about plan benefits.
“Our goal is to make everything as simple as possible, reducing the number of steps it takes to get from point A to point B,” Baker says. “Integrating all of a member’s health benefits in one place — through myuhc.com and our mobile app — provides the clarity and insight employees want from their benefits plan.”
In 2022, we made several enhancements to the UnitedHealthcare app® and myuhc.com® member experience, with significant investments made in the mobile space. Members are now able to order, track and manage their prescriptions directly within these digital tools.
This includes highlighting when a lower-cost — oftentimes generic — drug of an equivalent quality is available.
Additional improvements include a redesigned myuhc.com dashboard for a simpler view and navigation, the ability to add a card to Apple Wallet® as a form of payment and easier access to rewards through the UnitedHealthcare Rewards program.
“We earn our place as a trusted partner by giving members transparency into their health benefits, which they can access directly through our mobile app — a seamless digital experience and pathway to the information, tools and resources members need to make and feel confident in their decisions,” Baker says.
When employees can get the information they need when and how they want it, they’re more likely to understand and use benefits more confidently and know the costs of future care. For employers, that matters, because it may mean fewer requests for help and potential cost savings due to more informed health care decisions, among other benefits, she says.
"Quick access and simple navigation. That is what members want, and that is what UnitedHealthcare seeks to provide."
Expanding access to care through virtual health offerings
It’s been more than 3 years since COVID-19 forced a digital transformation that impacted all aspects of daily life. The shift to remote models caused a demand for touchless transactions, including within the health care industry.2
Now, the availability of virtual health is much more widespread. In fact, 85% of physicians currently use virtual health, and 8 in 10 patients said virtual health provided them with better access to care.3
“The goal of virtual offerings isn’t to replace traditional in-person care. Rather, the benefit lies in evolving health care systems to be more consumer-centric,” says Dr. Donna O’Shea, chief medical officer for population health management at UnitedHealthcare.
As virtual health solutions become more integrated across the full spectrum of medical and behavioral care, a new care delivery model is emerging — one that seamlessly connects members to virtual or in-person services, depending on their needs. And this is becoming increasingly important as the generational makeup of today’s workforce evolves.
“With a younger generation comprising more and more of the workforce, there’s a wave of societal change coming. We’re going to see people as empowered in health care as they are in other areas of life,” says Baker.
UnitedHealthcare has increased the capabilities of its virtual health services in various ways. Moving forward, it will be about building on this momentum through incremental improvements and new offerings intended to help solve some of health care’s biggest challenges. That future is not far off.
Imagine a future where members are empowered to choose their preferred care delivery model — virtual or in-person — across a range of areas, based on their benefits, coverage and the care they need.
"Integrating virtual health services into our digital front door — our mobile app — opens new pathways to high-quality, affordable care."
Engagement fueled by personalization
With the above advancements in motion, what’s next? Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are working to support a more engaging digital experience. Wearable devices and rewards programs can also engage members and improve their habits. The result of all this: a more personalized experience for employees that may drive better health outcomes.
An example of how cutting-edge tech can support better member experiences can be seen in a virtual physical therapy program offered by UnitedHealthcare. Launched in partnership with Kaia Health,5 this app-based program gives patients AI-based feedback on their exercises to support correct movements.
"Evolving our digital tools and services is how we can better advocate for our members and empower them to make informed decisions about their health and well-being."
Wearable devices will clearly play a big role in member engagement and motivating members to sustain healthier behaviors. Today, more than half of Americans own some type of wearable technology.6
The UnitedHealthcare Rewards program provides eligible participants with access to activity trackers at no cost. The incentive program focuses on rewarding members for reaching certain daily activity goals and completing healthy actions.
Delivering a simpler experience will increasingly be about supporting members throughout their entire health journey.
“There’s a lot that we can do in our role to help our members navigate their health care experience,” says Casandra Nied, vice president of consumer digital engagement for UnitedHealthcare Employer & Individual. “Whether it’s physical, emotional or financial health, we’re continuing to invest in new ways of engaging our members and becoming a source in managing their health and wellness.”
In addition, offering eligible members a year to Apple Fitness+ at no additional cost helps to bring them through the UnitedHealthcare digital front door where they may learn more about their health benefits and suggestions to fill gaps in care.
“Evolving our wellness and incentive program, UnitedHealthcare Rewards, to lean into more modalities of health, offer choice in how to earn and redeem rewards and simplify the experience within the UnitedHealthcare digital ecosystem are all about meeting members where they are,” Nied says.