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Digital Identity is the Key to Unlocking Telehealth’s Full Potential

Mike Bechtel
October 21, 2022

“Next-generation mRNA vaccines. A new PSMA-targeted approach for prostate cancer. A novel treatment for reducing LDL cholesterol.” These are just a handful of medical innovations highlighted by the Cleveland Clinic in their annual round-up for 2022. Missing from this list of incredible breakthroughs, however, is a much simpler medical technology that I would argue has the potential to be just as transformative and life-saving in the coming years: telehealth. 

Although it may be difficult to believe, the term telehealth was not even in the zeitgeist just a few years ago. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, telehealth (the practice of “providing care remotely using technology such as video and phone calls, monitoring devices and patient portals”) wasn’t even fully covered by most insurance plans due to regulations. When the pandemic made receiving in-person healthcare risky, however, regulations were lifted and telehealth adoption rates skyrocketed. Today, even as rates of COVID-19 begin to wane, telehealth remains a popular way for individuals to access care. In fact, according to a report conducted by McKinsey, “telehealth use has increased 38X from the pre-COVID-19 baseline.” 

Today, many healthcare companies are still struggling to fully leverage the incredible power of telehealth. As a result, many healthcare consumers face unnecessary roadblocks when trying to access virtual care. Whether a healthcare consumer wants to create an online portal to check the results of a test, access a video conference feature to speak with a clinician, or schedule an appointment with a specialist online, it’s critical that they can do so as quickly and pain-free as possible. By improving their digital identity capabilities, healthcare companies can remove obstacles to virtual care and increase revenue in the process. 

Digital account onboarding

The problem: By requiring healthcare consumers to fill out lengthy forms or enter easy-to-lose activation codes, healthcare organizations make it extremely difficult for new patients to sign-up for a new digital account. Often, healthcare consumers ironically can only access telehealth after some sort of in-person visit. This unnecessary barrier to access drives healthcare consumers to competitors who have more welcoming and easy-to-use onboarding flows.

The solution: If you work for a healthcare company that is looking to grow, consider leveraging cryptographic technology to auto-fill digital forms with verified demographic information from authoritative sources that both ID proof and improve the digital experience. Cryptographic authentication ​​(AKA key-based authentication) allows relying parties (financial institutions, companies, and governments) to trust that the data asserted by users during authentication and verification events is actually true by leveraging cryptography as the source of truth. This accelerates the onboarding process by greatly reducing the number of keystrokes necessary to register. 

Digital account servicing

The Problem: QUICK– what’s your username and password for your healthcare portal? If you’re like most people, you probably don’t remember because you probably don’t use your healthcare portal very often. As a result of the healthcare industry’s reliance on outdated methods of identity proofing like passwords and usernames, many healthcare consumers struggle to access their accounts and resort to resetting their passwords every single time they want to log on. Other healthcare consumers give up entirely. 

The solution: To improve consumer retention and security, healthcare companies should consider ditching the password and leveraging more modern and secure options like multi-factor authentication and passwordless technology

Call Center engagement

The problem: call centers lack up-to-date contact information for healthcare consumers due to phone number churn. As a result, engagement rates suffer and resources (time and money) are wasted as call center representatives struggle to make contact. 

The solution: With Prove Identity Manager™, Prove’s clients can replace out-of-date contact information with accurate consumer data. Kevin Boesen, Chief Sales Officer for Tabula Rasa Healthcare, discusses his experience leveraging Prove Identity Manager™: “We sent 40,000 [stale records] to Prove. We were able to get almost 90% of these matched up with accurate phone information.” Newly armed with accurate contact information, Tabula Rasa increased member engagement by over 20%. A major global insurance company achieved equally impressive results when it reduced call center handle time by 1 minute by replacing knowledge-based authentication with Prove. 

Conclusion

The healthcare industry is dynamic and mission-driven. There are innovative and groundbreaking medical breakthroughs that occur every day and lives are saved because of them. However, the system still has a long way to go in its digital transformation. Leveraging technology to scale resources to adequately care for and engage the consumer is a requirement. It’s now time to rapidly optimize the digital tools that have been thrust to the forefront of healthcare. Healthcare organizations must prioritize secure consumer access to protected health information at all times, and make it easier for consumers to engage with their healthcare organizations. 

Want to up-level your telehealth program? Speak with a digital identity expert today. 

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