Q&A with Linda Leigh Brock

 In Member Experience

NASCO’s Vice President of Product Management, Linda Leigh Brock, has been with the company for nearly a dozen years and has more than 25 years of experience in information technology across healthcare, telecommunications, and other high-tech industries.

Linda Leigh is leading NASCO’s product strategy and product management organization across the breadth of the company’s product portfolios. She is driving the vision for NASCO’s go-to-market products, overseeing product roadmap development, and leading roadmap execution.

The following Q&A is an edited portion of the Executive Interview Series in which she was invited to participate at the Emids Healthcare Summit 2022.

What does the current landscape of customer engagement in the healthcare space look like?

As healthcare leaders, I think we all recognize that we have been behind-the-curve in terms of engaging our customers in an exciting way, despite the fact that we’ve been surrounded by the same technological capabilities as all the other industries. In the healthcare system, we’ve had to navigate a lot of regulatory change. We’ve been focused on how to navigate some very thin margins and invest most effectively.

Today, I think we’re playing catch-up and trying to move ahead by focusing on the right experiences, engaging our customers and changing the narrative around how they feel about the healthcare ecosystem. But in other cases, I think we may have overcorrected. We went from engaging our customers or members when they reach out to us to proactively reaching out before they make that contact. That may have added more confusion … too many touchpoints, too much information, too often – and not providing the clarity and simplicity that’s needed.

Next, I think all of us are focused on knowing the customer more deeply. That means we can be more intentional, more personal with that engagement. But that does require a tremendous amount of focus on where to invest, how to know who our customers are more deeply, and how to make those interactions more meaningful to achieve the desired outcomes.

How are healthcare organizations thinking about what those customer experiences should look like?

Within our organization, we’ve pivoted to thinking not about systems solutions but about the journeys our customers and members are on in their healthcare interactions. Those journeys help define the touchpoints along the way when customers engage with the healthcare system. That helps identify areas of friction or pain points in their journey.

But we still need to take it a level deeper and understand the impact of that friction. We help organizations focus on the things that affect the perception of the care customers receive, and the health payer experience overall.

If you think about a health plan’s service areas – digital and call centers –we’re focused on enabling and providing richer, more contextualized information about the person who’s engaging with the health plan on the phone or through a digital channel, which allows the health plan to better understand who those customers are, what’s going on with them, even any interactions they’ve had up to that point.

How can Artificial Intelligence (AI) be used to help improve the customer experience?

AI can be used across the entire spectrum of the healthcare journey. Some examples of simple things like closing gaps in care; making sure you’re getting your regular check-ups, flu shots, more routine or preventative items. Those are simple, but can be very important, particularly for the older demographic.

Then, there are more complex scenarios. You’re learning how to steer them toward the right care programs; but when we start to incorporate larger data sets and analytics about that member, we can start predicting what may happen next and get in front of [those issues].

How would you assess the healthcare industry’s engagement maturity and areas of focus?

I think we’ve made some progress with our member engagement. There is still a lot of work to be done there, but I do feel the investments are being made; the right focus is there.

The next evolution is what I would call “the age demographic borders.” The younger population and the older population (especially as they age into Medicare programs), their variations on brand loyalty, cost considerations and understanding of the healthcare system differ tremendously from what we look at as our average age bubble. Our averageaged member has become somewhat used to the complexities of the healthcare system. But this complexity can be extremely burdensome to new customers and to customer caregivers as well, which can result in dire consequences around patient care outcomes and costs. On the other end of the spectrum, I don’t see our younger demographic tolerating the traditional healthcare experience, and they will look for something very different.

We’ve done a good job moving the needle on experience. I think the next frontier for us is to figure out how to simplify the healthcare ecosystems and the healthcare system overall, which will benefit everyone.