Bloomfield, CT – In a recent 2017 study about health literacy, 20% of respondents reported they didn’t know the meaning of the word ‘premium’.  Furthermore, 66% of respondents reported they were unfamiliar with the word ‘formulary’.  This is a common challenge we’ve been reporting on for sometime now.  Companies have launched campaigns and platforms to help consumers gain a better understanding of the most basic healthcare terminology. However there is still work to be done and the question still remains– how do we close the gap?

One solution: follow trends and insights to help us understand where people want to connect to learn more about various topics.

Enter stage right: Cigna Health!  They recently launched a new skill on the popular Alexa voice activated device by Amazon.  The goal: help improve health care literacy. The new skill is designed to provide information on over 150 frequently asked questions about health plans and the benefits associated with each.

"Voice control offers an exciting and innovative way for Cigna to educate and engage people about health care in a way that is convenient for them," Rowena Track, vice president of digital marketing at Cigna, said in a statement. "Our work with Amazon Alexa provides us with experience and expertise as we evolve our voice platform and introduce new personalized services throughout the year."

You can read more about the launch here, originally reported on CNET.

Why This Matters – 

One of the trends we’re following in 2018 (and have continued to follow and watch evolve over the years) is the ‘Rise of the Illiterati’. This trend does a deep dive into how smart brands are finding new ways to bridge this health-literacy gap and connect struggling patients with accessible tools they need to meet them where they are.

While this new skill is great to have it all comes down to utilization and access to the technology. This solution works if there is utilization and enough consumers have access to the technology. It is great to see brands taking advantage of these cutting edge platforms but it still remains to be seen if the data will fall into the right hands – and those right hands are willing to dive a bit deeper to learn.

As marketers, the challenge isn’t always developing and deploying new ideas – but designing in a way that captivates audiences and is compelling enough to want to dive deeper. It will be interesting to see just how Cigna positions this new Alexa skill in their ad budget and what channels they’ll use to bridge the gap.

About the Author:

As Strategist of Innovation, Drew is charged daily with championing innovative thinking and doing. Drew is part of a global team that leads new innovative ideas that attract different advocates among existing and potential brands that are shared across all agency partners. Drew is backed by over 16 years of brand, sales and marketing experience with Fortune 500 companies such as Progressive and Nationwide Insurance as well as Founder & President of his own healthcare insurance agency for 6 years. Most recently Drew was part of the agency team that launched Briviact for UCB, Foundation Medicine as well as key roles with Eli Lilly Oncology and Johnson & Johnson.