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An MVP Approach to Member-Centricity

As health plans continue to compete for membership, I have seen a shift in the market toward a focus on member-centricity. Health plans competing to aggressively grow membership have begun to reinvent their companies by throwing away their old models and using a minimum viable product (MVP) approach that focuses entirely on creating a positive member experience.

This concept was introduced to me about five years ago by a client in the Midwest who had just purchased an existing health plan. They wanted to rebrand this newly acquired business using this approach. They recognized that their current business model was stagnant, but understood they also had a treasure trove of assets in terms of highly skilled resources and technology at their disposal to remake the future. As time elapsed, several other health plans across the country were asking how they could do this.

To increase speed-to-market, this concept centers on a fail fast/fix fast approach. This also aligns well with Agile methodology and helps clients that are challenged from shifting away from traditional waterfall-based delivery. The entire goal of getting into the system is to fail fast, and if the required result fails fast, the client needs to fix the failure through business user-enabled automation and keep the project moving forward— this overall thought is a key aspect of continuous optimization.

The strategy of the most successful efforts is to adopt automated-based testing that reduces the burden to the business. However, the true secret to this approach’s success is for health plans to recognize what is working within the current landscape and to persist forward into the future with a new, more successful version of the current enterprise.

Problems with this approach occurred with extremely adamant organizations that did not want to repurpose any part of the prior ecosystem, even if it worked well. With the “keep nothing” mindset, these projects often did not even get off the ground.

The plans that were successful with the MVP approach were willing to build their new business around a viable subset of the existing technology stack, identifying critical aspects like provider data sources and other key components of the ecosystem that provided a solid foundation to accelerate this effort. Looking back, this strategy enabled the health plans’ very aggressive timelines. This strategy also allowed them to focus on what was truly important, the member experience.

Health plans will always look for opportunities to break barriers into new markets both in the commercial and government areas. The MVP member-centric approach can serve as a way for health plans to reinvent themselves, differentiate their offerings, and break barriers into new markets to compete for the future.