A Bold Approach to Quality Improvement: Utilizing Programmatic Targeting to Drive Member Awareness

by Josh Vierling

Member awareness is a critical component of any health plan’s overarching strategy. In an effort to engage prospective customers, improve retention levels and increase satisfaction for current members, health plans place a large focus on boosting visibility and delivering content that is both relevant and intriguing.

What many don’t see is that behind the scenes, health plans are constantly employing a myriad of techniques to generate awareness and instill meaningful quality improvement. Though these techniques run the gamut and vary across plans, established strategies like direct mail, print advertising, digital marketing, community involvement and on-site events are consistent across the board. While these tried and true strategies are vital engagement mechanisms that are not going away any time soon, they are not always enough.

While these tactics form a multi-channel approach that educates, builds trust and improves member engagement, all approaches that were once new and innovative eventually lose their initial effectiveness—especially as they begin to saturate the market. We often see this effect take place when one health plan introduces a new strategy that places them ahead of the competition. Once this plan gains market share and becomes the leader in HEDIS performance scores, their winning strategy is soon adopted by the competing entities. While the traditional approaches listed above still hold a critical role in member awareness, they have all become commonly used tactics with diminished impact.  In order to stand out in an oversaturated market, these established strategies must be coupled with modern tactics that address the paradigm shift in how members learn, engage and choose their healthcare.



This paradigm shift is a direct result of the proliferation of social media, interconnectivity and digital technology. As these innovations have grown, so has their effect on the learning and buying behaviors for members of all ages, ethnicities and geographies. While we can analyze millions of Pursuant Health’s data records to detail the unique preferences for every demographic, the shared commonality is the evolved way in which members learn and engage with healthcare. Given this widespread movement, health plans must also evolve in how they provide information and interact with members.


In this current technological environment, health plans must have a strong social presence, consistently deliver an arsenal of engaging content and be bold in the frequency with which they interact with members.  Furthermore, messaging must be strategically crafted and tactically delivered to stand out and grab a member’s attention.  Because this paradigm shift has increased the speed at which information can be acquired, plans have a limited time to grab a member’s attention and effectively relay their message. This can be difficult in today’s ad-heavy atmosphere where messages are constant and advertisements are everywhere.  There is so much surrounding noise that any halfhearted attempt at member engagement will fade into the background; for example, simply creating a Facebook page with an occasional post will eventually be ignored.  A health plan that does not take an “all in” approach to social media and digital innovation will fail to see meaningful results on an ongoing basis. A bold, engaging approach is the new norm.

One specific tactic that embraces this technological evolution while supporting traditional outreach strategies is programmatic targeting. In basic terms, this is the ability to reach micro-targeted audience segments based on specific attributes such as demographics, income and interests as well as health behaviors and buying habits. By utilizing highly detailed attributes and predictive algorithms, programmatic targeting reaches ideal audience groups in a manner that is both efficient and effective. This innovative method can serve both current and potential members with engaging content and multi-channel campaigns across Facebook, Instagram, mobile and web platforms.

When plans aggressively adopt technology like this, they will find that they not only connect with an exceptionally higher percentage of members, but they also lower the cost of more traditional outreach strategies by increasing participation, engagement and acquisition rates. Furthermore, utilizing innovative methods like programmatic targeting will position health plans as industry leaders with a strong competitive advantage.

In summary: healthcare is evolving, and we must keep up. Embrace innovation, be bold and go all in.


Josh Vierling
Vice President of Sales at Pursuant Health



Josh Vierling is the Vice President of Sales at Pursuant Health. He has over 10 years of experience working with numerous health plan, provider, public health and state entities.  Josh earned a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University.


Pursuant Health values its role in helping health plans achieve meaningful quality intervention and member engagement. For more information on Pursuant Health and how we can assist your health plan, please contact:  sales@pursuanthealth.com