As a Medicare broker, much of your ability to offer the best plans for your clients rely on their ability to enter accurate healthcare information online. That’s proving to be a huge issue, as digital data collection rates for healthcare remain low among seniors. So what can you do?
Before we get to solutions, it’s essential to understand the issues you’re facing. The fact is, older adults reportedly have an aversion to internet health services in general and in particular to online data collection.
You might assume it’s because they have low adoption rates for technology overall. However, according to AARP, 80 percent of seniors regularly use smartphones and tablets. So if that’s not the problem, what is?
Many industries have already been successful in transforming the habits of their customers to using digital services. Travel and banking are good examples of recent industry changes where consumers now expect a digital service and have no problem entering their data digitally.
According to the analytics organization McKinsey and Company, most consumers, including seniors, are not only open to the use of technology in healthcare but expect that it should be convenient and easily available.
The report suggests that a critical factor affecting the willingness or unwillingness to adopt a new mindset often hinges on the relationships consumers have with the professionals in the industry. Retirees, in particular, rely on them to help navigate new digitized processes and ensure they can be trusted.
Those positive relationships will be the foundation to a successful adjustment. Because of this, Medicare brokers have an important role to play in bringing seniors onboard.
Break down the value of digital data collection and make them aware of the specific advantages, including:
Digital data collection decreases collection, analysis, and distribution time. It also lessens the administrative burden on both the beneficiary and the broker. In addition, digital information can be updated and pushed to whoever needs it quickly and even automatically in some cases
Digital data collection only has to happen once, which reduces error rates because only one record has to be processed and audited. What’s more, by both processing and auditing data much faster, errors get caught and corrected much quicker.
Digital data can also be efficiently stored, copied, backed up, and encrypted for secure future access. This improves the transparency of where the data originated from too.
The most obvious advantage of digital data collection is tracking. Manually obtained data is stored in various places at various times depending on who is collecting it and how. But, to state the obvious, you can’t track real-time information if it’s not available in real-time.
With digital, the data is updated instantly and available to all stakeholders to who the beneficiary has given access. This type of visibility provides fast answers because you can’t manage what you can’t track.
Keeping your clients informed through regular digital communication like email or a blog not only normalizes digital communication, but it enables you to cover more topics and keeps them up to date in a timely way.
Don’t discount connecting via Facebook or YouTube either because the Pew Research Center shows that over 40% of older adults (65+) use social media.
Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are great ways to stay connected with your clients online.
In order to embrace it, older adults must understand the actual value of technology solutions and feel safe using it. They also should be aware that protecting their privacy and securing their health information (online or off) is a core requirement of being a Medicare professional.
“The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) Rules provide federal protections for patient health information held by Covered Entities (CEs) and Business Associates (BAs) and give patients an array of rights with respect to that information.”
- From the Department of Health and Human Services Guide to Privacy and Security of Electronic Health Information
For those clients who tend to shy away from technology, education about their online options and the possibilities it opens up might be what it takes to get them to at least give it a try. Offer approachable lessons by:
Don’t forget the basics either. Teach them about the accessibility adaptations on their devices like:
Each of these helps make it easier to use technology and adopt it much more rapidly.
Another issue often found in adopting technology to those who need it is getting appropriate support when first learning about it. One possible way to solve this is by offering in-office demonstrations or regular support sessions beyond the training mentioned above.
Being able to get on the phone and get help quickly is a MUST too. It takes a bit of a commitment on your part, but it will shorten the time it takes your clients to learn how to use the new technology and will make your job (and their life!) easier.
You may have heard the saying that obstacles are just opportunities in disguise. Embracing the obstacles a digital divide creates takes knowing the technology yourself and then being willing to pass it on in ways that build trust and grow your business.
Helping seniors become tech-savvy means you’ll have empowered them to have more control over the where, when, and who can access their healthcare records. From there, it’s a domino effect because then they’ll be able to track changes, see real-time drug costs and plan for the future of their healthcare.
Trusty Select Pro offers you digital technologies that will help you help seniors while freeing up your time as a broker and building those relationships that matter. It’s solid processes and quality data with a simple setup that makes it easy for you and your clients to reimagine Medicare sales. So get started today by calling us and scheduling a no-obligation demonstration.