Communicating to Increase Well-Patient Compliance

January 4, 2016

How do your quality scores for well-patient visits measure up? If they aren’t where you would like them to be, perhaps it’s time to change how you communicate with these patients.

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Henry Ford Health System wasn’t satisfied with its rate of pediatric well-child visits, which HEDIS data ranked nearly 15% below the 90th percentile. It decided to increase pediatric screenings and immunizations system-wide to potentially decrease avoidable complications and hospitalizations. In addition, it saw an opportunity to strengthen its pediatric primary care physician relationships. Here is how you can follow Henry Ford’s example:

  • Get Specific: The health system focused on better managing the health of existing patients between the ages of 2 and 12 years. It wanted to engage children and their parents in pediatric health, while also increasing health system loyalty within the household and creating downstream service opportunities. All of its pediatricians are employed by the health system.
  • Develop Personalized Communications: In partnership with Healthgrades, Henry Ford developed a multi-channel communications campaign. Compliant patients—those whose parents brought them in for a well-visit to receive a screening or immunization—received a card with a “keep up the good work” message and an opportunity to get healthy recipes, age-appropriate download activities and to register to win a $10 iTunes gift card. Non-compliant patients—those whose parents hadn’t brought their child in for an appointment in over a year—received a “happy birthday” message with an opportunity to request an appointment, download activities and register for the iTunes gift card.
  • Enhance Conversion: Henry Ford sent out 10 monthly direct mail campaigns. The cards were addressed to the parents, with envelope cut-outs revealing fun graphics to increase appeal for the child. The messages were supportive, personal, and eye-catching. For patients who remained non-compliant (their parents didn’t make a well-child appointment by month 7), the health system sent an email containing a personalized URL (a URL specific to that particular child) to simplify appointment-making and iTunes gift card registration.

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  • Measure Results: Henry Ford truncated the campaign at month 10 due to a concurrent electronic medical records implementation, before resuming it again recently. The health system measured direct mail and email ROI separately. It saw 336 incremental patients due to the direct mail campaign, realizing $207,000 in charges. The email campaign gleaned 69 incremental patients and over $35,000 in charges. As the health system’s goals were a combination of increased screenings and immunizations, increased downstream encounters, and decreased costs due to complications and hospitalizations, these results met initial expectations.

By developing a communications campaign to increase well-child compliance, Henry Ford met its mission to care for its primarily low-income Detroit population. Follow its example to support your population health goals.

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