July 31, 2017
By: Brian Kalis

How to enhance financial performance by using digital technologies intelligently

Why are so few health insurers seeing better financial performance and new business growth from their digital investments? Accenture’s Digital Performance Index measures digital leadership against earnings success, demonstrating the difficulty of getting both right.

Achieving this is critical: NewAccenture research reveals health plan Digital Business Leaders achieve 19 percent better financial performance and 17 percent better digital performance than other U. S. health insurers.

Digital Business Leaders succeed by renewing and transforming their core business with digital technologies, while simultaneously growing new businesses, what we call “rotate to the new.” Inside Digital Business Leaders, this clear, disciplined focus on growth and transformation is apparent in each of the four pillars of the value chain:

  1. Plan - Strategy planning: Digital Business Leaders emphasize and execute on digital growth strategy focused on simultaneously transforming the core, growing the core, scaling new businesses and pivoting wisely.

    Digital Business Leaders were early to diversify their portfolios across insurance markets to focus on expansion in government programs. In parallel, the Digital Business Leaders launched new health technology and services businesses, selectively invested in start-ups, and built innovation capabilities to test the feasibility of new solutions and business models.

  2. Sell - Customer experience management: Digital Business Leaders tailor services and customer engagement at scale, using data analytics, social media and customer service transformation.

    One Digital Business Leader developed an integrated, data-driven social media campaign. Over time, it has become a unified support center for command and control of all social media, marketing, customer experience and customer service teams related to the company’s operations around the world.

  3. Launch - Operations: Digital Business Leaders use smart systems and rich data to create new revenue generating services that add customer value to existing health plan operations.

    Another Digital Business Leader partnered with a digital engagement platform vendor to build a personalized disease-management program. It employs genetics, patient data, and behavioral science to offer practical solutions around one of healthcare’s most pressing needs. Available across various digital channels, including mobile, it generates customer value as well as fresh revenue by plugging into resources beyond the enterprise.

  4. Manage - Organizational management: Digital Business Leaders actively renew their organization to adapt to the digital agenda.

    One Digital Business Leader has focused on cultural change within the organization. This has started by bringing in external leadership talent from outside the traditional healthcare industry with experience with consumer marketing, experience and product development to catalyze the cultural shift. An enterprise workforce of the future strategy was designed in parallel to support the cultural shift through changes in organizational structure and talent strategy required to support scaling of new businesses. A critical first step taken was to link executive compensation to improvements in Net Promoter Score (NPS) for members, providers, employers and brokers.1

There is risk of pivoting your investment away from the core too fast and moving into new businesses too soon. It is critical to pivot wisely away from the core to new businesses.

Digital Business Leaders employ a balanced approach where they rethink their enterprise and explore new sources of revenue, but do it in a way that consistently takes stock of how digital drives value overall.

The other side of this coin, a danger faced by too many healthcare leaders still leery of digital, is moving too slow. Now is the time to act, while the core business is still viable and profits exist. Companies which fail to do so risk finding themselves in a compressed profitability and revenue environment, unable to rotate fast enough to the new to stay relevant.

1Net Promoter, Net Promoter System, Net Promoter Score, NPS and the NPS-related emoticons are registered trademarks of Bain & Company, Inc., Fred Reichheld and Satmetrix Systems, Inc.

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