The Truven Health Blog

The latest healthcare topics from a trusted, proven, and unbiased source.


Can Personalized Healthcare Communications Really Drive Behavior? Yes, and Here’s How.

By Truven Staff
Matt Collins imageAsk any healthcare consumer, and there’s a 50-50 chance that they have little idea, without a call to their doctor, when they should have specific, preventive cancer screenings based on their age, or what their target cholesterol levels should be for their specific health history, or what happens if they don’t take their blood pressure medication every day.

In fact, recent studies by Truven Health Analytics experts found that at least half of healthcare consumers don’t get the care they need (as recommended by evidence-based guidelines) and up to 50 percent don’t take medication as prescribed. That lack of knowledge is translating into higher healthcare costs for employers and health plans, which trickle down to the consumer in a time when everyone’s worried about rising healthcare costs.

There is good news, though, and it comes in the form of highly personalized healthcare communications.

More and more studies, including one published in the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, prove that engaging people with tailored, timely, and relevant messages about their health improvement opportunities can increase care compliance by 10 to 20 percent. That type of boost can save employers, health plans, and consumers significant amounts of money, thanks to early identification and cost avoidance.

When we talk about cutting-edge, customized healthcare messaging that produces results in the real world, it goes well beyond the “it’s time to think about a mammogram” to “it’s been two years since your last mammogram, and here’s why that’s especially dangerous for you, and we know you don’t want to put your family at risk, and here’s how to act on this information in the easiest and most cost-effective way possible.”

The foundation of that type of detailed communication is the use of targeted data, analytics, and market segmentation. Those elements must continually inform not only the basic message content, but also the tone, emotion, and other tactics.

A recently published Truven Health insights brief, Four Steps to Creating Healthcare Communications That Drive Behavior Change, discusses how to accomplish this by basing communications on a consumer-specific profile, using eligibility, medical claims, and other available data. Data might include age, gender, ethnicity, family structure, and medical and drug history. The next step is to assign each individual to a refined demographic, psychographic, and behavioral segment, so that tactics, images, emotion-level, and preferred communications channel can be versioned by what they prefer and how they tend to react and behave when it comes to healthcare decisions.

This process has been delivering an ROI of 3:1 or higher in many cases — a boon for helping employers and health plans achieve financial stability when trends continue to consistently increase. The best part, of course, is that consumers benefit, as well.

Full Personalized Healthcare Messaging Brief Available
Download the complete brief, Four Steps to Creating Healthcare Communications that Drive Behavior Change.

Matthew Collins
Director of Product Management