From the September 2016 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine
By Bipin Thomas
New generations of health care consumers want their clinical services to be as easy, reliable and durable as any other aspect of their network-enabled life.
They want services on-demand, smart-phone-enabled, reviewed by people they trust and easily replaced in case a superior provider emerges. They are as likely to find the closest 24-hour pharmacy with immunizations and lab tests as they are to call their local hospital for an appointment to obtain these services.
As in the case of banking, these consumers are adamant about convenience and access. The hospitals will need to earn their market share by approaching their “markets” as individuals in a community context, each with specific needs, obstacles and strengths. Only by walking with people — whether through a web-based portal, or by explaining incentives for lifestyle changes, or interacting with them in new care coordination positions — will hospitals demonstrate that they are invested in patients’ health for the long term, and that they are genuine partners with people in wellness.
Millennials have surpassed baby boomers as the nation’s largest living generation, according to population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Millennials, whom we define as those ages 18-34, now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million baby boomers (ages 52-70). These consumers see technological ease and multichannel access as indicators of how much an organization understands their needs.
Smooth interfaces, quick response times and modern communication channels can please consumers — and, just as important, their absence can be frustrating to millennials. These facts must permeate any business model for it to achieve profitable growth. The job of the hospital in the new ecosystem is to gain consumers’ mindshare first.
First-year technology road map
Successfully transitioning to consumer-centric health care and wellness requires careful planning and sequencing of the steps necessary to achieve this goal. In this new series, I will be outlining a set of actions and outcomes that should occur over a three-year period. The first year focuses heavily on the shift to consumer-centric processes, including patient engagement outreach. Hospital leadership should focus on the following key areas: implementing an operational dashboard; launching a personalized digital experience for every consumer; building platforms for population health data analytics; and addressing new reimbursement strategies.