Stop playing catch up around the healthcare consumer experience

Stop playing catch up around the healthcare consumer experience

September 04, 2019
Business Affairs Health IT
By Kermit Randa

Many hospitals and health providers are failing to meet consumers’ needs and expectations in healthcare — and it’s a key reason why they’re losing market share to non-hospital competitors, including patient-empowerment company Devoted Health, retail guru Amazon, and industry behemoths United Health Group/Optum.

These organizations have mastered using technology to reach patients, but that’s not the primary reason 88 percent of hospitals struggle to compete around the consumer experience.

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What’s holding hospitals and health systems back from achieving true transformation is something far more basic: lack of actionable insight.

Healthcare organizations are drowning in data, but when it comes to improving the consumer experience, they often measure the wrong things or fail to analyze their data to uncover meaningful insights. They also scramble to secure timely data that pinpoints declines in performance, revenue, or market share at an early stage — when swift action can make a powerful difference.

As a result, while more than half of hospitals have crafted consumer-centric missions and strategies, most do not have the right data needed to achieve their objectives. This puts healthcare leaders in reactive mode: responding to the disruption that is reshaping the healthcare consumer experience instead of breaking the mold on their own terms in response to market needs.

Breakthrough performance needed
Competition in healthcare is nothing new, but the nature of this competition is changing. No longer are hospitals and health systems vying for inpatient business with the health system across town. Today, they battle new entrants to the industry, whose high-touch, highly personalized innovations threaten to take critical shares of outpatient business away from traditional healthcare organizations.

What we’re seeing among traditional organizations is a mismatch between consumer-centric priorities and capabilities. For example, the ability to estimate patients’ out-of-pocket costs is critical at a time when most patients face out-of-pocket costs of $501 to $1,000 during a healthcare visit. Yet two-in-three healthcare organizations are unable to provide cost estimates for outpatient procedures or have limited ability to do so. This is a glaring problem, given patients’ out-of-pocket costs rose 12% from 2017 to 2018 alone — and it’s a problem healthcare leaders need to fix to maintain market share and consumer trust.

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