It looks like Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) is ready to listen to its customers. And it is using a new website, and crowd sourcing, to do just that. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina just launched Blue Asks You NC (http://www.blueasksyounc.com/t/Healthcare), an interactive online community, on February 1. BCBS’s objective is to have participants “inspire change and help North Carolina residents understand health issues in the state.” This looks like it might be part of a trend where health insurers are doing more online to engage consumers. See the recent article: “Health insurers try to ‘humanize’ themselves via Facebook, Twitter” in FierceHealthIT at http://ow.ly/3Rf7Z.
Blue Asks You NC is a crowd sourcing community that is designed to tap into insights offered up by residents of North Carolina. According to a recent release by BCBSNC, members of the community will be able to share insights, ask questions, get information, talk openly with others and learn from health care experts. “The community will be a forum for conversation and data collection unlike the health care industry has seen before. It will also create a direct line of communication between us at BCBSNC and the folks in North Carolina, allowing us listen to the needs and issues of our state. We truly believe this community can affect change in healthcare within our own company and across the state. We want your voice to be heard now and for future generations.”
BCBSNC will reward individuals for their participation. The more participation— like answering questions, commenting in threads or sharing with friends—the more entries the individual will receive into weekly drawings for prizes like gift cards and tickets to sporting events.
It is exciting that BCBSNC has recognized the potential of online networks to gain insights and have conversations with constituents. I’m curious to hear what they end up learning from this interaction. As I’ve said in previous posts, I hope that 2011 will be the year when organizations stop focusing on piling up fans and followers, and start approaching these social network with strategic intent. And from my perspective, that begins with listening to the group’s members. Check out my post titled: My call for a strategic shift in Healthcare Social Media.”
Pot by Dan Dunlop, The Healthcare Marketer