Blue Cross’ $65 billion move towards population health

As healthcare moves from fee-for-service to population health, your smartest move will be to start today to build a vibrant, active, online patient community.

You may be tempted to take a wait-and-see approach, but if the recent news from Blue Cross is any indication, you will need a population health strategy sooner than later.

“In the latest blow to fee-for-service medicine,” reports a July 9 Forbes article, “the nation’s Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans say they are spending more than $65 billion annually — about 20 percent of the medical claim dollars they pay — on ‘value-based’ care that rewards better outcomes and keeps patients healthy.”

Online patient communities can be a powerful tool to help patients achieve better health at lower cost with greater loyalty to the doctors and hospitals associated with their community.

An effective community combines three powerful motivational tools:

  • A built-in support group of peers who are struggling with the same health issues.
  • Accurate information about disease and treatments that can combat widespread inaccuracies found on the internet.
  • Access to health professionals who can respond quickly to patient questions.

When the community is built on a HIPAA-compliant platform, it provides a safe environment to share sensitive patient information.

Building effective patient communities require an investment of time and money, but the return on community will reap rewards for years to come. Once you build your loyal patient community, you can adapt to changing health care with them. 

No better time than now to start.

Photo credit: Flickr Espen Sundve 


Study: The striking difference between managed and unmanaged online patient communities

Our partner Dan Dunlop at Jennings posts a fascinating study on the difference between managed and unmanaged online communities. 

It’s the story of two online communities, launched within seven months of each other. These communities are sponsored by hospitals located in the same region of the country, only 49 miles apart.

One of the online communities has been actively nurtured and monitored daily by a dedicated community manager, while the second community was left to operate on its own. The result?

The community that was actively managed has experience nearly three times the volume of visitors and has become a great asset for its hospital sponsor. The other community has languished and is barely clinging to life.

This is definitely a cautionary tale! To read the full story, read A Tale of Two Online Communities