It’s 11 p.m., and your middle-schooler is running a high fever — do you need to make a trip to the ER, or are there other options? Or maybe you’re home, healing from surgery and notice an odd itching around the incision site — is that normal? Or perhaps you’re finding it harder and harder to get a solid night’s sleep — where can you go for advice?
When people have health care questions, the first thing they need is a trusted source. Today, consumers have access to an endless amount of information at their fingertips. But people have a hard time sifting the valuable from the vague, and consulting “Dr. Google” can lead to anxiety or even missteps. In a recent survey of family physicians, 97 percent believe that patients are coming into the office with misinformation.
Trust is crucial to accessing and engaging with health care. Indeed, when patients have more trust in their health care professional, they have more healthy habits, fewer symptoms, higher quality of life, and more satisfaction with treatment, a 2017 study found.
Yet health care has a trust problem, as people have grown tired of one-off solutions and juggling different tools. According to a 2018 Edelman report, only 53 percent of people trust the health care system, a 9 point drop from 2017. People are “increasingly looking for ‘whole person’ solutions to manage their health, meaning not only products but also holistic approaches and tools to maintain wellbeing," the report notes.
From Silos to an Ecosystem
The health care landscape is glutted with apps and websites, many of them capable of doing one or two things very well. But when someone is mildly panicked in the middle of the night about a strange rash on their midsection, getting them to turn to your product for help is incredibly tough if they’re not already familiar with you. So how do you build that trust?
For starters, trust doesn’t happen in a flash. It takes time and sustained engagement. At Rally®, rather than create siloed products and apps, we’ve built a comprehensive platform that spans both wellness (finding a stress reduction program, getting more active) and care (understanding how much a procedure will cost, swiftly scheduling a virtual visit). We try to build trust not only around wellness goals or finding a doctor but across all health care touch points, from low acuity (like annual exams) to high (such as in-network urgent care facilities).
For more from Chris Carey, check out his popular Tech Talk podcast from the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show, Taking Control of Your Health and Health Care.
And to learn how digital navigation can help people connect the health care dots, see this recap of our recent CES panel, moderated by Katie Couric.
And because our platform is seamlessly integrated into an employer’s benefits and employee assistance programs, we’re able to tailor each user’s experience. That means smart search results of in-network doctors, but also proactive recommendations. When a user searches for weight loss help, for instance, the platform might also suggest they take a look at Real Appeal, Rally’s digital weight loss program. In fact, our data shows that people are more motivated to sign up for programs when they’re actively thinking about their health and searching for doctors or medical facilities. (Download our Health Starts With Care white paper for more insights on how we help people engage with relevant programs.)
Building a comprehensive ecosystem — where people can get help on pressing health care needs, long-term wellness goals and everything in between — is a game-changer when it comes to cultivating trust. That’s because users gain a deep familiarity with and trust in our brand as they engage with us. And we’re experts in engagement. Our team has deep roots in user engagement and online gaming, meaning we’re able to use tools like micro-loops, avatars, reward programs, and gamification to keep users interacting with the platform.
Then, when a pressing health care question strikes — like finding the right place to get care — they know exactly which trusted resource to turn to: Rally. We’re already on their phones and bookmarked on their computer, and they’ve already relied on us for other health and wellness needs, big and small. They know us — and we know them. That makes for an unbeatable trust loop that, in the end, can drive more engagement and empowerment toward better health. So whether it’s a fever spiking at dinnertime or help sleeping better, Rally is there.
Chris Carey is chief product officer at Rally Health.