Health Insurers’ Online Services Lag, Study Finds
A study by analyst firm Forrester Research found that health insurers are not using the Internet to its full potential and are "mired in the rudimentary stages" of creating online services for customers, the Boston Globe reports. Health plans are spending a lot of money to answer customer questions online but are having difficulty identifying what services consumers want online, according to the study. Health plans are in the process of updating old systems and are increasingly working with physicians and other providers who do business on the Web. But these moves are coming years after consumers began using the Internet for services such as booking trips or paying bills, according to the Globe. Forrester found that almost half of the health plans surveyed said they have difficulty understanding members' self-service needs; 43% of plans said they were concerned about how to get their customers to use the Internet. "Health care is behind the ball, period, in terms of recognizing that the consumer, the patient, is who they need to serve," Elizabeth Boehm, the Forrester analyst who conducted the study, said, adding, "The problem is big" (Healy, Boston Globe, 4/9). Forrester analysts surveyed member service executives at 23 health plans for the study (Forrester Research, "How to Fix Health Plan Member Service: Part II," 4/2).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.