NPS vs. CAHPS
One reason monitoring NPS may not have fully caught on with health insurers is that the industry is traditionally measured by Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) scores. These scores provide an “apples-to-apples” comparison of member satisfaction scores across all NCQA-accredited health plans.
Yet there are several reasons to begin monitoring NPS, says Dent. Internally, it provides employees with visibility around company performance and can help drive corporate decisions regarding initiatives, product development, service, communication, and spend.
“NPS is a different way to view your customer base,” Sullivan says. “It reveals what customers really think about you. While customer satisfaction surveys disclose how a customer feels at a certain point in time, customer loyalty encompasses the whole experience.”
It can be particularly helpful to know NPS now, when many facets of healthcare are uncertain, Dent says. “It’s good to know what percentage of your customers are loyal across the board compared to those who might change their perception of you from one day to another.”
NPS is also a way for staff to understand the connection between their role and their customer impact, Dent says. For example, while sales and customer service employees may have a good understanding of how they rate with customers as a result of their direct interactions with them, information technology personnel and others who are more internally focused may not.
NPS + CAHPS
Since 2016, FirstCare has included the NPS question in its CAHPS survey even though it isn’t a requirement. “By integrating the two, we get a deeper dive and better understanding of why we may have a particular score and where we should focus our efforts for improvement,” says Dent.
To date, FirstCare has collected internal NPS for its different lines of business—Medicaid, marketplace, and commercial—through surveys delivered by email, mail, and phone. FirstCare then calculates its own scores using the Satmetrix scoring methodology. The NPS is calculated by subtracting the total number of detractors from the total number of promoters.
The survey conducted among FirstCare’s marketplace customers resulted in an NPS of 17 in 2016. In 2017, the score rose to 28. “We attribute the increase in the score to such efforts as welcoming and engaging members when they first enroll, as well as improved customer service and communication,” says Dent.
FirstCare received a -8 NPS for its commercial block of business from members who participated in a recent online survey. “The lower score may be the result of billing issues we had as a result of changing invoicing systems, which we have since resolved,” Dent says.
Given the growing importance of NPS, the insurer is investing more effort into capturing and improving its score. “For 2018, we are planning to establish a baseline among all of our product lines for NPS,” Sullivan says. “We are also making sure that we ask and score the NPS question uniformly across all of our different survey channels so we are sure it’s relevant and accurate. We will then analyze scores and factor them into strategy, initiatives, and communications.”