Earlier this month when Adrenaline presented “Network Transformation & the Engaged Consumer Experience” at the 2018 Healthcare Facilities Symposium & Expo, we began our presentation to an audience of healthcare professionals with a snapshot of an industry in transition. In this introduction, we shared our insights on disruption and consumerism, the drivers of change, and competitive challenges facing an industry ripe for change. As we launch our perspective series on the patient journey, we think the most natural place to begin is with an appraisal of the state of healthcare delivery today and the most pressing challenges facing a changing industry.
Modern consumers expect a lot. Digital disruption has resulted in completely new models of retail commerce. Entire consumer industries have sprung up in the wake of the digitization of our modern lives. You can order a car on your phone, shop from nearly anywhere, and have orders delivered on your doorstep in an hour. With Amazon, consumers get served up suggestions perfectly tailored to them. Now, there are even stores where you shop on-the-go and walk out the door without checking out. Once surprising, customization, curation and convenience are now an expected part of every consumer-brand interaction.
Yet, when consumers look around at their doctor’s office, very little may have changed. Large, unwieldy centers of care are not made for consumers. From appointment scheduling, checking in to payments, old-school delivery still rules the day in most clinics. What technology enabled across other industries results in a level of expectation the healthcare consumer brings to the patient experience.
“What technology enabled across other industries results in a level of expectation the healthcare consumer brings to the patient experience.”
Why does it matter? According to Forbes, “The quickest way to ruin a customer experience in healthcare is to treat everyone the same. Patients don’t want to feel like just another number. They crave personalized service that helps them find the right solutions.”
The issue most healthcare organizations face today is less about resistance to change and more about understanding what’s driving that change. While patient expectation can be one of the most obvious drivers, change doesn’t’ just come from the outside the healthcare organization through consumer demand. Sure, consumerism is the most obvious outgrowth of digital disruption, but healthcare providers are facing forces both inside and outside their walls. One such challenge is coordinating customer convenience with backend processes. Check-in, for example, requires that type of synchronization.
What we’ve recommended to healthcare organizations facing down disruption is to first take stock of the predictable aspects of their business. What that means is understanding that there are things that their patients or healthcare consumers will do over and over again, like scheduling appointments, checking in and paying their healthcare bills. Automating those aspects of their business will enhance consumer customization and convenience – letting them choose how and when they interact – and at the same time provide efficiencies within the healthcare institution, since a staff member won’t have to provide that service.
What healthcare consumers want most of all is customization and convenience. The last they want is to feel like they’re just another patient in a long line of patients. What may be the ultimate irony is that consumer behemoths like Amazon and digital trailblazers like Google have brought something so personalized to consumers. The intersection of big and small data triggered by consumer behavior has driven the growth of entirely new retail models. Understanding the drivers of change that will perpetually impact the delivery of care is the first step toward developing a responsive healthcare system primed for future challenges.
But acknowledging and adapting to drivers of change is only the first step toward creating a 21st century model of care. Ultimately what healthcare organizations are developing is a sustainable approach, a methodology for integrating and adapting to change. Having consumers opt-in to experiences and create and customize their own healthcare journey is the ultimate goal of healthcare organizations in today’s disrupted landscape. In our next installment, we will explore a prototype and case study for how healthcare organizations today are transforming their networks to enhance healthcare experiences for healthcare consumers.
For more information or to talk with one of our healthcare experts, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.