Most healthcare organizations are searching for ways to drive engagement and loyalty among their members and patients — older ideas aren’t necessarily working amid new normals.
Delivering the right experience at the right time to support, surprise, and inspire can yield great health outcomes (and appreciative members and patients). So how does that take shape? Sometimes, it literally takes the shape of a physical box; one containing purposefully assembled items. You might also call it a care kit.
A care kit is a customized package of practical tools and supplies that meet an individual’s health needs in ways like never before. Care kits are a refreshing additive to traditional healthcare experiences, which have dramatically changed since the start of the pandemic.
Why care kits?
These days, where healthcare happens has changed. During the pandemic, patients weren't able to go into doctors’ offices for obvious safety reasons. Virtual visits skyrocketed, and many are sticking with this new way of receiving care.
According to a recent national survey, more than half (56%) of Americans agree that COVID-19 is never going away. And for those who have used telemedicine during the pandemic, 75% will continue to utilize it post pandemic. But do they have the right tools to effectively take advantage of this new care setting?
It’s worth thinking about what kinds of additional services and capabilities you deliver to augment healthcare experiences that happen not in the office, but inside the home.
Care kits elevate the concept of addressing challenges related to not only healthcare but overall health. Quite simply, people need support. Things that they do on a daily basis that affect health — exercise, stress management, sleep, alcohol consumption, proper medication — determine health outcomes. Giving people the support they need to manage these determinants of health can help them succeed.
Where do care kits fit in the health care journey?
Kits can lead to satisfying patient and member experiences. But where do those experiences happen in order to drive value for the user? Here are four points in the journey where kits can play a meaningful role:
Acquisition – For member acquisition, the care kit can help prospects understand the value they can likely receive once they decide to become members.
Onboarding – A welcome care kit offering for individuals starts them off on the right path forward with the organization. A kit supplied for onboarding with a new condition management program can elicit that cared-for feeling: “After opening this box, I feel that I have everything I need to be successful in treating this condition.”
Health and wellness programs – If an individual experiences a life event or change in health status, they can receive a kit to help support them going forward. A kit can also be geared toward a chronic condition management program for a given diagnosis or post operatively to ensure a successful recovery.
Loyalty and retention – At-risk populations stand to be the most inspired by receiving a care kit. Providing health tools shows that you support them as valued members. It shapes their opinions and expectations of your organization in a positive way.
Care kit concepts
Presenting care kits at the right time in the healthcare consumer journey makes them feel more valued. But what can the kits actually do? Care kits support a whole range of health needs.
COVID wellness kits have been the most common but are giving way to heightened interest around telemedicine prep kits. This is no surprise, given that the home is often now the de facto care setting.
Do your members, patients, or employees have the tools they need to have a more productive virtual care visit? For example, do they have a blood pressure cuff or pulse oximeter? These are the questions to ask for the benefit of all patients.
Episodic kits are for individuals who endure chronic conditions like diabetes, COPD, or heart disease. Care kits are also effective in supporting patients in pre- and post-operative settings. Patients typically need help gathering supplies and ensuring adherence to their care plan — the more support, the better the outcome.
And speaking of support, the need for behavioral health kits is on the rise, particularly due to social isolation from our COVID times. A kit that lets folks, particularly seniors, know that you’re thinking about them and giving them tools for engagement can feel very satisfying.
Those same seniors have also been putting off common surgeries like joint replacements, leading to an increase in slip and fall accidents in the home. An Insure.com survey found nearly 40% of Americans said they’ve delayed health care over the past year because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Care kit ideation
When you think about how much a slip and fall accident ultimately costs, it's worthwhile to go back to the old saying, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” A home care safety kit could prevent members or patients from incurring expensive slip and fall casualties.
More care kit ideation:
COVID + Flu care kit • Telemedicine prep • Diabetes care and prevention • Healthy mom and baby • Sleep well • Heart healthy • Smoking cessation • Healthy weight • Oral health • Mental wellness • Pre- and post-operative • HIV wellness • Home safety
Understanding the new healthcare consumer and putting them at the center of care is what inspires care kit concepts. The kits are most meaningful when you’ve first identified the right care experience at the right time. In turn, linking this intention to your goals as an organization in the overall care journey creates a sustainable, forward-thinking means of achieving success.
Nicole Williams is Director of the Healthcare Practice for RRD Healthcare Solutions. To learn more about RRD's wide range of kit options, visit our interactive Care Kits page.