Knowing Your Patient-Population: Why Segmentation Matters in the Era of Patient-Centricity

Posted on February 17, 2016

Recently, I shuttled my grandmother to a dentist appointment. At the end of her appointment, stapled to her receipt was a long list of requests from the office:

“Sign up today for text appointment reminders!”

“Get dental health tips monthly! Join our e-newsletter list.”

“Like us on Facebook!”

“Enjoyed your visit? Review us on Yelp!”

My Grandma looked at the paper and said, “Who is Yelp?”. Clearly, the dentist’s office had missed their mark with my grandma.

Let’s contrast this with my Nana. Nana is one year younger than Grandma and at age 74, you won’t find a more connected lady. She regularly shops on Amazon, reads the NY Daily News online and frequently writes (albeit in all caps) on my Facebook wall. When her doctor came out with a text reminder service, she signed up right then.

Segmenting Patient-Populations

Ordinarily, we would place these two women in the same population bucket. Demographically, they’re fairly equal. They live a few ZIP codes apart, are both in their mid-70s and are semi-retired. They’re both actively managing Type 2 diabetes, arthritis and a few other minor conditions related to age. On paper, they look the same, but preference-wise, they certainly are not.

This is why segmentation is key when developing patient-populations. If we had segmented my grandma and my Nana into two groups, say Digitally Engaged Type 2 Diabetics 65+ and Traditionally Engaged Type 2 Diabetics 65+, the outreach strategies would have been vastly different and much more effective.

In the above example, the dentist’s office would have understood that a landline phone is the best method to reach those Traditionally Engaged Type II Diabetics 65+, while texting could be the number one way to keep Digitally Engaged Type II Diabetics 65+ in the loop with their healthcare needs.

Improving Communication with Patient-Populations

We need to focus and find the best ways to communicate with our patient-populations. It starts with understanding the differences and commonalities between groups. Segmentation allows us to sift through different scenarios so that each patient-population receives the most effective method of communication to help them navigate their care.

CentraForce Health offers the ability for clients to segment their populations across disease state, demographics, communication preferences, geography and other combinations. By “fine-tuning” the combinations, we can provide the data so that providers and hospital systems can in turn create effective and desired interventions, as well as patient engagement strategies.

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