Population Health Strategy at Work: 3 Steps to Reach Adults with Diabetes

by | Sep 15, 2016 | Service Line Growth

Find out how you can employ the principles of population health strategy to reach an underserved but surprisingly large segment of American communities: people with undiagnosed diabetes.

In a healthcare era that prioritizes value over volume, content marketing strategies that emphasize wellness have become increasingly important. The CDC estimates that more than 34 million Americans have diabetes, and nearly three times that amount have prediabetes. Diabetes, especially diabetes that isn’t well controlled, can have a major impact on patients—and health systems.

Here's how diabetes takes a toll on healthcare resources:

  • The American Diabetes Association reveals that diabetes and prediabetes cost the American health system $322 billion a year.
  • Between 2009 and 2010, 37.3 million people visited an emergency department or doctor’s office with a primary diagnosis of diabetes, according to a table of data compiled by national organizations, including the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • The average hospital stay for diabetes-related complications is 4.6 days, according to the 2010 National Hospital Discharge Survey.

What does this mean for healthcare marketers? Using audience segmentation to identify people who are at risk for undiagnosed diabetes and developing relevant content designed to educate this group not only fosters engagement and builds brand awareness. It also leads to healthier communities—a key population health strategy focus—and results in cost savings for health systems. Patients receive the right level of care and are less likely to visit the emergency department.

Get started on your campaign with this step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Harness the power of your customer relationship management (CRM) software.

CRM software is one of the most important tech tools for digital marketers. These platforms compile a wealth of data about physicians, patients, and community members who aren’t patients (yet) and store this data into their searchable databases. Available data typically includes basic demographic information, such as age, gender, and ethnicity, as well as information about health conditions, daily habits, and prescription and over-the-counter drug usage.

Simply put, CRM software allows marketers to identify community members at risk for health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancers. It enables them to then send spot-on messages to the most appropriate audience. Use the query list created by your CRM to identify the right people to enroll in your digital and/or mixed media campaign.

Step 2: Say ‘Hello’ to your target audience.

Once you’ve identified community members using CRM who are at risk for undiagnosed diabetes, you’re ready to craft your message. Developing a patient persona can help at this stage. People who are at greatest risk for developing undiagnosed diabetes are typically younger men who make a lower income.

Consider this example: Bill is a 45-year-old who has visited a primary care physician affiliated with your organization in the past, but he hasn’t been to the doctor in several years. Bill is overweight and has a family history of diabetes. But he feels fine, so seeing a doctor isn’t high on his list of priorities.

Step 3: let population health strategy drive your messaging.

Content that resonates with community members like Bill will focus on education. People in circumstances similar to Bill’s may not realize that even though they feel fine, they are at risk for diabetes. Creating a digital campaign that sends prospects to a microsite devoted to diabetes education can provide the tools people need to manage their health. Microsite articles can discuss symptoms and risk factors. An assessment can also allow visitors to evaluate their personal risk for the disease. Make sure to include with the assessment an option for users to enter their email address, as well as a trackable phone number they can call to schedule an appointment with a provider.

If the assessment reveals users are at high risk for diabetes, they will be more likely to call to schedule an appointment with a primary care provider for a blood glucose screening.

You can now work on continuing your relationship with individuals, not simply demographics. Send automated reminders when it’s time for their annual wellness exams and repeat screening. Invite newly engaged patients to events or educational classes that focus on diabetes. You’ll build brand loyalty and help ensure that the condition is managed appropriately, preventing costly hospital visits.

Ready to Make an Impact?

Let’s explore ways True North can help engage consumers in your community.