By Alison Budor, consultant, Freed Associates.
No one can deny the pandemic’s impact on the healthcare industry. While the pandemic has obviously strained healthcare capacity and workers, it has also helped evolve care delivery through non-traditional channels, particularly digital. This significant change in care provision has created a tremendous opportunity for healthcare to reimagine care within the context of a digital environment.
The challenge is that the healthcare industry has historically been behind other industries in offering impactful patient-facing digital technologies. Compare healthcare, for example, with financial services, allowing consumers to manage all their finances from a smartphone. It’s a similar story with online shopping, which has rapidly allowed consumers to conduct transactions on practically anything from the convenience of their homes.
As healthcare seeks to expand its digital services and better-serve patients, the industry would be well-served to adopt a new patient-centric mindset based on several key digital learnings from the consumer products and service industries. Why? Because as a general rule, these industries have developed their digital products based on valuing and embracing consumers’ needs and loyalty, regularly applying a test-and-adapt process to product and service development, and never wavering from knowing the consumer experience matters far more than any shiny new technology.
The New Digital Norm
In digital services, there is now a single, fundamental truth: the new normal is about being consumer-obsessed, delighting consumers and exceeding their expectations. Whether in healthcare or elsewhere, organizations that embrace this reality will rise to the top; those that don’t will likely be left behind.
For example, Netflix upended the movie industry by providing digital viewing options at the convenience of the consumer. Peloton revolutionized the fitness industry through engaging, digitally based personal experiences. Delta Airlines won top industry ratings with its focus on improving the entire consumer travel experience, from online to in-person. Is there any reason your healthcare organization couldn’t deliver similar results within its sphere of service and influence?
Based on my years of experience in consumer products and services, and now in healthcare, here are three key lessons to apply from the consumer realm to the healthcare industry: