I recently sat down with senior executives from one the nation’s largest health insurers to talk about social networks in health. Since health plans have
been slow to embrace social media, I wasn’t sure what to expect. In the end I learned that insurers have no illusions about what is at stake as more of their subscribers turn to the Internet to navigate their health care decisions.
Health economist Jane Sarasohn-Kahn pointed out in a recent post that health insurers in particular should care deeply about how engaged consumers are in their health. Engagement tends to foster smarter choices when it comes to managing our health, whether it’s choosing to exercise, eat more vegetables, take our medicine or see a doctor.
By contrast, lack of engagement typically leads to worse health outcomes. That means more spending on medical care, a known cause of heartburn and sleeplessness among health plan executives. (more…)