by Jennifer Graves

Jennifer Graves leads the robust SDI team supporting the communications division of the Defense Health Agency (DHA). DHA is responsible for ensuring both a medically ready force and a ready medical force. SDI works under Deloitte Consulting LLP on this contract.

Change is rarely easy. That’s especially true when it comes to two of the most regulated sectors in American life – the federal government and health insurance. Furthermore, change results in a Herculean communications task to ensure all affected parties know exactly what is changing, how it is changing and what impact these changes will have on them.

Currently, the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense Health Agency (DHA) is making major changes focused on the standardization and centralization of all aspects of military health care. This massive effort includes implementing systems that monitor safety, access to care, quality, medical records and more.

At the center of this effort is DHA’s health insurance benefit, known as TRICARE, which covers more than 9.5 million beneficiaries around the world. As DHA works to improve military health care, there will be significant changes made to how TRICARE is administrated.

This poses a daunting communications challenge for a multitude of reasons.

  1. The millions of beneficiaries are located worldwide, so different communications channels are needed.
  2. Each military family has unique concerns or issues that must be understood and addressed. Likewise, each family likely has many questions about changes, which need to be answered in a timely, appropriate manner.
  3. Compounding these issues is the simple fact that insurance policies are intricate and complex.

To meet these communication challenges head-on, Susan Davis International (SDI) worked closely with DHA to establish a multi-pronged approach that provides the right information to the right people at the right time. A core team of SDI professionals – graphic designers, writers, and digital media experts – use a wide range of tactics including videos, newsletters and webinars to reach TRICARE beneficiaries. Because beneficiaries are geographically diverse, DHA must use each channel effectively to reach all of them.

Nurse Advice Line graphicThe effort is abetted by internal DHA communications specialists who relay critical information within the agency, including at satellite locations, to confirm a clear, consistent message is being shared. These efforts include DHA town halls and special events, which allow beneficiaries to ask questions and get answers.

SDI supplies two additional critical assets–analytics experts, who assess the breadth and reach of DHA’s efforts, and customer service representatives, who speak directly with administrators and beneficiaries struggling with topics like claims and grievances.

SDI’s multi-pronged approach has proven successful so far. It’s not easy to reach nearly 10 million people all around the world. Together, SDI and DHA has made this happen through a unique, robust communications effort that strives to alleviate the concerns of the brave men and women who risked their lives for our freedom.