Community-Integrated Health Networks may partner with health care entities to implement a menu of services.
Many networks face challenges in generating sufficient volume of referrals and use a variety of recruitment strategies to engage community members in services.
The best strategies will depend on the type of health partner that you are working with and its customary practices for handling marketing, recruitment, and referrals.
When working with health care partners, it is important to have an effective marketing, recruitment, and enrollment process to meet their volume demands. Collaborating with your health care partners to develop centralized, coordinated marketing, recruitment, and enrollment processes is the key to your success.
Don’t assume that referrals will come automatically just because you have a contract with a health care organization. Health care organizations know their members and the best channels to reach them. Talk with them early in the planning process to identify the appropriate messaging and marketing and referral strategies for reaching their consumers.
- Patient Registries and Outreach Letters: A large health plan or an Accountable Care Organization (ACO) might agree to provide a registry of their members who meet specific criteria, for example, diagnosis of various chronic diseases. In Massachusetts, the Healthy Living Center of Excellence (HLCE), a Community-Integrated Health Network, uses this approach in working with a Dual Eligibles Health Plan. If you decide to use this approach, you will need to work with the health plan to determine the process for contacting and engaging individuals on the list to enroll them in workshops. The HLCE sends an outreach letter jointly from the health plan and the Community-Integrated Health Network to introduce the program and then follows up with a direct phone call using motivational interviewing to enroll individuals in scheduled workshops.
- Robocalls: Some health plans provide mass, automated outreach calls to their members to notify them of programs and services. A computerized auto-dialer leaves a pre-recorded outreach message soliciting program participation. Partners in Care Foundation uses this approach in working with a large health plan.
- Targeted Outreach: You and your health care partner might decide to identify specific criteria for targeting individuals who would benefit from the program and then focus your efforts on engaging and enrolling them. For example, you might agree on targeting individuals who are newly diagnosed, those who are high utilizers of heath care services, Dual Eligibles, or those with multiple chronic conditions. When this approach is used, the health care partner might agree to send an outreach letter to potential participants to recommend the program and introduce them to you.
- Referrals or Provider-Led Outreach: Health care professionals, such as doctors, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, nurses, social workers, patient assistants, community health workers, and other members of the health care team play a role in educating patients about the benefits of evidence-based programs, referring them to workshops, and helping them enroll. When this approach is used, it is important to work with the health care practice to develop processes for embedding the program into routine organizational operations. Marketing and referral materials should be visible in the practice, and there should be a protocol for introducing the program to patients and referring them to workshops. Regardless of the specific processes that are developed, it is important to report back to your health care partner who was enrolled, who attended, and who completed the program.
Formalizing Your Marketing Approach
As you develop a formal agreement or contract with your health care partner, it is important to include your marketing plan and decisions about who will do what in the written document. There should be language that makes it clear that marketing and recruitment are a joint effort. Further, the costs for outreach and marketing should be included in the negotiated contract rate. A health plan or other health care partners might decide to pay one rate for all members who receive outreach, regardless of whether or not they attend a workshop, and different rates for those who attend at least one session or those who complete (attend four of the six sessions) the workshop.