In an industry where member experience expectations continue to be under-addressed by insurers, an organization that focuses on delivering a red-carpet experience to their members across all the major touchpoints of the member journey is a standout. In fact, according to a recent report from Forrester, while many insurers have the intent to improve member experience, more than half struggle to convert their intentions into actionable plans1.
So when Banner Health began a digital transformation journey to modernize and streamline operations across their myriad care and insurance divisions, and zeroed in on user experience as the best guiding star for innovation, they joined an exclusive group of insurers committing resources to building a holistic member journey. In a recent webinar with longtime collaborator and Salesforce system integrator, Mastek, and Amit Khanna, Senior VP of Health & Life Sciences, Salesforce, they discussed their progress up to now, Salesforce as the right choice for their needs, and their most recent launch to bring member services forward into the kind of modern shopping experience that consumers and regulators alike expect.
Banner Health – Care & Coverage
Headquartered in Arizona, Banner Health is one of the largest, secular nonprofit health care systems in the United States. With 30 acute care hospitals, an academic division, a Cancer Center, hundreds of care facilities across 6 states, and a health insurance division within the state of Arizona, Banner is responsible for the care and coverage of hundreds of thousands of people of all ages.
Care and coverage is in fact how Banner Health encapsulates their primary mission to provide the best care, the best coverage, the best experience to stakeholders across the entire spectrum of their services. As part of that mission, they identified areas where they wanted to better leverage the power of their data and set up each division with a foundation upon which to build personalized journeys, measuring effectiveness at every major touchpoint. That meant finding a comprehensive, customizable, scalable cloud platform to be that foundation. Banner Health chose Salesforce for the job. Belinda Russell, Senior IT Product Owner at Banner Health describes:
“Salesforce continues to bring excellent products and packages to the table so that we can work with our partners to say what makes sense for our roadmap, what makes sense for Banner, what makes sense in that red carpet experience.”
Banner Health and Mastek
Banner Health’s long collaboration with Mastek began about five years ago with their PPME portal (Provider Pre-employment Made Easy) – a series of portals, automated processes, and integrations that greatly streamlined the recruitment and hiring process for their physicians.
PPME primarily leveraged Salesforce CRM with Service Cloud. Once PPME was launched and put into incremental improvement phase, in 2021 Banner Health decided to put focus on their insurance division, specifically their existing Medicare Advantage enrollment process. With that shift to the member experience, Banner Health made the decision to utilize Health Cloud this time for their first Salesforce-based insurance side portal.
Medicare Portal Features & Launch
Banner Health’s reworked Medicare Advantage BenePortal leverages Salesforce Health Cloud with Vlocity to create an easy, shop and enroll experience for Medicare beneficiaries. It brings third party drug and provider look-up applications into a single interface. No more clicking around the website to compare plans, or verify your provider. This can all be done through a streamlined workflow that guides each user through the steps from shopping to enrollment.
“The member experience clearly had changed [post implementation], because [members] could walk through end to end and not have to jump out to go see their drugs or jump out to go check for doctors. Everything was in one nicely put together portal, and it was easy to use.” – Danielle Perry, Director of Medicare Sales Operations at Banner Health
Custom built API’s were created so that members can easily conduct research and comparisons in one interface. Once the member picks their plan, a seamless enrollment experience pulled in Salesforce CRM to create a file that then tracks where the member is in the process.
The discovery process started in Oct 2021. Sprinting began in Jan 2022. Final go live had to be done well in time for open enrollment. The new portal went live right on time in August 2022. Results were immediate. Medicare recipients began to use the new portal right away, lifting burden away from their contact center and quickly revealing an important touchpoint. Danielle explains:
“Another thing that we saw was the ability to understand what members were doing within the portal. We had a circumstance where a member went in and intended to enroll. She got all the way to the last screen, but didn’t actually hit the submit button. And we saw it! We were able to see that enrollment stuck there. The team picked it up. We were able to make a phone call to that member and get her enrolled. What we also were able to do is say, ‘Okay, that maybe is not clear enough in the portal.’ And were able to make real time adjustments.”
It’s scenarios like this one that are so compelling for healthcare, because Banner Health’s ability to view and react in real time to a member’s misstep in the enrollment process mimics the kind of shopping experience that people have come to expect. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg with what Health Cloud and the Salesforce ecosystem can do, especially with the tools that Vlocity brought to the Salesforce Industries applications.
“Just the visibility into what’s going on end to end is 100% better than what we had before.”Danielle Perry, Director of Medicare Sales Operations, Banner Health
Salesforce Health Cloud – A Scalable Solution
Part of Salesforce Industries, Health Cloud offers industry specific solutions tailored for healthcare. Payers especially can find out-of-the-box capabilities that allow them to:
- Build a holistic view and personalized experience for members and providers
- Automate quote to care processes
- Create better collaboration between care teams
- Enhance digitized contact center engagement
With the acquisition and then merging of Vlocity’s tools into Salesforce Industries applications like Health Cloud, payers can build a 360° view of their members and build personalized journeys to maximize engagement and ease of use, a move that Forrester has linked to greater profitability and higher CSAT scores1. Insurers can also enjoy a faster time to value, as Belinda clarifies:
“There’s a lot of standardization when you’re talking about Medicare and Medicaid. Governmental regulations and those kinds of things drive your workflows, and so the Salesforce product, Vlocity, really has allowed us to have a speed to market.”
Amit Khanna, Senior VP of Health & Life Sciences at Salesforce further explains how Health Cloud enables insurers to create a modern shopping experience:
“Vlocity brought us a couple of things as part of the acquisition. One is the functional footprint of shop & enroll, which is about the policy if you look at quote to card, as we sometimes call it. But it also brought to us consumer grade tools. Tools like Omnistudio, Flexcards allow you to bring consumer grade experiences, and workflows.”
And there’s no doubt that the desire for consumer grade experiences is driving the need for innovation in healthcare today. According to a Becker’s Healthcare recent report:
“Health plan members today expect the same type of experience they get with retailers and banking. Meeting members where they are, whether via phone, text or virtual assistant — on their schedule — is imperative. In fact, a 2021 JD Power study found that 32 percent of commercial health plan members engaged with their health plan through web, mobile app or text message, the highest percentage to date. Technology is no longer a “nice to have” for transforming engagement— it’s a necessity.”2
But even knowing this, many insurers struggle to deliver on personalized, “Amazon-like” experiences for their members, and the webinar panelists spend time sharing why that is.
Industry Challenges to Innovation
According to the Forrester report:
“Insurers want to create more connected member experiences, but over half said it’s ‘Challenging’ or ‘Very challenging’ to provide a seamless digital experience throughout a journey (57%), create a complete picture of a member in a single system or data source (53%), or access real-time journey analytics (52%). Advancing the member experience requires data, interoperability, and a collaborative operating model across teams, all of which are challenges for insurers right now.”1
In addition, Amit named some additional challenges that paradoxically, not only require automation and digitization to alleviate, but frequently cause delays in creating bandwidth to implement digital solutions that would provide some relief:
- Workforce burden. According to Amit, the US healthcare system spends $3 trillion on healthcare, $1 trillion of which is administrative waste.
- Health siloes that prevent data from moving across units or divisions within a care system.
Belinda describes these data siloes as “the iron curtain” between divisions like healthcare delivery and the insurance division, pointing to the care Banner Health is taking as they “ready the waters” to safely and securely unify data for a singular care & coverage experience. Belinda indicates that data siloes need to be overcome, but it’s important that healthcare insurers be good guardians of the very sensitive data they accumulate. This safe unification of data is a feature that, according to Amit, Salesforce Health Cloud has built-in capabilities to create:
“Going forward, as we try to harmonize the full member journey, it’s about not only the quote to card, but the whole member experience. AFTER [enrollment] is also an experience, so it’s not just about selling the insurance plan, but post-sell, how will you service the plan. Bringing Vlocity and Health Cloud together allows us to power those two things, from buying and selling the plan, to then servicing the plan. If you marry these together, and then you apply the automated tools that [Vlocity] brought, then it becomes a really great picture for our customer to use out of the box capabilities that allows us to configure the secret sauce that drives their business processes.”
At the Forefront of Healthcare Innovation
According to Forrester, payers who have taken strategic action to create a connected experience for their members are already reaping the benefits of their efforts:
Insurers’ highest-ranking business and member priorities align with their organizations’ key objectives. Surveyed insurers noted their top member-focused priority is to better connect journey touchpoints to improve the member experience (63%). They plan to do so by improving interoperability across back-end systems, which is their highest business priority (61%). Improving relevance and personalization is another top member priority (60%), one that will increase the likelihood of retaining members and bring upselling and cross-selling opportunities to support their other top business priorities, which are to increase customer lifetime value (60%) and improve revenue per member (60%).1
When Banner Health embarked on their journey to create a red-carpet experience for stakeholders across all the divisions of their organization, they tackled a major industry problem and catapulted themselves into being an innovation pioneer for healthcare. As Belinda describes:
“That red carpet experience doesn’t stop with our incoming physicians. It doesn’t stop with our members. We want to make sure that everybody who interacts with Banner Health on any front has a really good customer experience.”
The Medicare Advantage shop and enroll portal that Banner Health and Mastek built in collaboration received a standout award in 2022 from ISG for its innovative solution, acknowledging the team as being at the forefront of healthcare innovation and member experience.
Catch the full Banner Health webinar recording for many more details on this foundational and groundbreaking project. If you’d like to talk with us about how your agency can achieve the same success with modernization and futureproofing, contact us via the form below.
- “Disjointed Experiences Cost Insurers Members And Money.” https://www.smartcommunications.com/wp-content/uploads/SmartComms_Forrester-OS_Disjointed-Experiences-Cost-Insurers-Members-And-Money_FINAL.pdf. Accessed .
- “How Data and AI Turbocharge a Frictionless Member Experience.” How health plans can turbocharge and personalize the member experience (beckershospitalreview.com).