Patient Engagement
Clip
“Benefits Couldn’t Be More Confusing If We Tried” (04:05)

“There are a lot of challenges as we think about the current world of benefits design and how the consumer experience is,” says Patient Engagement Lead Advisor Kevin Volpp, who discussed the value of benefits design with Wendy Wood and David Kirchhoff.

“If you get a 100+ page description of what’s in your health benefits, it’s pretty likely you’re not going to really understand it that well and you’re not going to know what you’re being incented to do and what you’re not being incented to do. I think the clear implication of that is that we need to make benefit designs much simpler,” Volpp says. He discusses a health plan he and colleagues David Laibson and George Loewenstein worked on for Humana, in which patients were offered a one-and-a-half page list of medical services, broken up into five tiers of pricing.

Kirchhoff illustrates how difficult it must be for the average person trying to figure out health benefits by explaining how, upon leaving Weight Watchers, he had to sign up for his own coverage. “I’d like to think I knew something, just a little bit about insurance, because I worked at a company that was self-insured — we had benefits meetings and everything else,” Kirchhoff says. “And when I was faced with a screen of picking my plan, it was completely incomprehensible.”

“I have to believe that the average person who’s never had to deal with this on any kind of regular basis, looks at these things and they just have absolutely no idea what we’re talking about. I mean, we could not be any more confusing if we tried,” he adds.

So what can be done? Focus on outcome indicators, says Wood. She describes how businesses improve their brand image through successful health plan outcomes such as exercise and weight loss programs, charity events, and more. Health care organizations, she says, can model this behavior, and improve their brand image by advocating for peoples’ health. “There are lots of things that you can do to differentiate yourself as a health care provider that offers value,” Wood says.

From the NEJM Catalyst event Patient Engagement: Behavioral Strategies for Better Health at the University of Pennsylvania, February 25, 2016.

More From Patient Engagement
Collapse of Two Online Health Communities as Result of Removal of Users Starting from Superusers

Online “Superusers” as Allies of the Health Care Workforce

Three proposed steps for integrating peer-driven online health communities with traditional services to improve health outcomes for people with chronic conditions.

The PEACE Project - Patient Experience for Acute Care Elders at Sarasota Memorial Hospital

The PEACE Project

Improving the acute care experience for our eldest patients.

Rabson01_pullquote barriers to patient engagement in primary care practices

What Does It Take to Increase Patient Engagement in Primary Care Settings?

Massachusetts primary care practices are beginning to invest in programs to increase patient engagement, but these strategies can be challenging to implement and remain underutilized and undervalued.

Many Barriers to Engaging Patients in Treatment for Obesity

Survey Snapshot: Approaches to Address Clinician and Societal Roles in Obesity

The obesity problem is getting larger and larger. Some solutions lie beyond the traditional medical setting.

Esch01_pullquote patient activation

OpenNotes, Patient Narratives, and Their Transformative Effects on Patient-Centered Care

The development of standardized tools and techniques are enhancing the ability of providers to interact with patients, but true patient engagement requires a common understanding of its theoretical foundation and an open mind for including patients’ needs and beliefs — in their language — as part of each encounter.

Patients and PCPs Hold Primary Responsibility for Addressing Obesity

Patient Engagement Survey: The Failure of Obesity Efforts and the Collective Nature of Solutions

Patients hold responsibility for their actions, but providers’ approaches to address obesity often fall short as well.

Items from the Shared Decision-Making Process Survey for Elective Surgical Procedures - patient decision aids - decision quality - informed consent

Shared Decision-Making: Staying Focused on the Ultimate Goal

Despite growing acceptance and enthusiasm for patient involvement in their health care decisions, clinicians, at times, lose focus on the ultimate goal of shared decision-making: better health decisions from the informed patient’s perspective.

Kangovi01_pullquote community health workers boom

The Community Health Worker Boom

Practical insights that can help organizations optimize their investments in community health workers.

MD Anderson Cancer Center PAAC Health Information Data Before and After Implementation of New EHR System

Using a New EHR System to Increase Patient Engagement, Improve Efficiency, and Decrease Cost

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center saw active participation from patients by encouraging them to document their own health information into a new EHR.

Phrases That Enhance Physician-Patient Communication for Scripps Health Hospitalist Groups

Improving Hospitalist Patient Experience Scores: The Importance of Physician-to-Physician Coaching and Medical Director Engagement

With the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services incorporating patient experience into Value-Based Purchasing metrics, hospital leaders must focus on improving this important aspect of patient care.

Connect

A weekly email newsletter featuring the latest actionable ideas and practical innovations from NEJM Catalyst.

Learn More »

Topics

Patient Incentives

68 Articles

Online “Superusers” as Allies of the…

Three proposed steps for integrating peer-driven online health communities with traditional services to improve health…

Patient-Centered Care

241 Articles

Online “Superusers” as Allies of the…

Three proposed steps for integrating peer-driven online health communities with traditional services to improve health…

Patients As Customers

122 Articles

Online “Superusers” as Allies of the…

Three proposed steps for integrating peer-driven online health communities with traditional services to improve health…

Insights Council

Have a voice. Join other health care leaders effecting change, shaping tomorrow.

Apply Now