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Benefits & Insurance

Consumer demand is moving the healthcare industry from the sidelines of technology

by: | July 5, 2017

After more than 20 years in the healthcare space, I can safely say we are entering unchartered territory. The good kind. The kind that transforms people’s lives and breaks down barriers.

Direct patient care has long been at the vanguard of technical development with ground breaking advances from the Gamma Knife to the da Vinci Surgical System. However, this innovation has stopped at the clinician’s doorway.

As an industry, we’ve been watching from the sidelines for years. Retail, transportation, travel, banking. All of these sectors have realized a significant shift in how they create products, distribute services and interact with customers.

So this raises the question, what does true consumer demand look like in healthcare?

We have a few ideas:

It’s consumer-centric

No brainer, right? But this is not how the healthcare industry has been approaching the problem. It has made innovation centric to its own needs first. Attention is focused on putting providers, health plan design or employers at the center of the consumer experience – rather than consumers themselves. There needs to be a better balance between innovating to meet industry needs and but also improving the experience people have with their health care.

Think about your smart phone. Are the apps you chose to use and how you organize them the same as your family members, or your friends? Most likely not. As an individual you are able to customize your experience so it is as unique as you are. Healthcare is personal and you should get personalized service.

It means your health starts with you

Health management starts when we each get up in the morning. What we choose to eat, how we manage stress, our level of physical activity and much more. The role of innovation and technology is not to force consumers to do things that don’t work for them, but to provide information on, and access to, solutions and partners that will allow them to make the best choices for themselves.

It’s all-encompassing

While we all find value in a more convenient way to find a gym, choose a nutritionist or track our latest workout, this experience is incomplete. Consumers deserve the right tools and information to navigate the full spectrum of health care needs, from exercise, to doctors visits to benefits.

All of us face times when we need the support of the healthcare system and we need great healthcare coverage so we know we can afford the care. Selecting and enrolling in health benefits, choosing a the right provider of care and even making informed decisions about the type of care we receive is all part of giving consumers the tools they need to take control of their health.

Incentives matter

It is clear that incentives matter in a consumer-driven industry. Both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards motivate the types of choices we make and the effort we put into these choices. The key here is to not make it too complicated. Straightforward and simple is better.

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Today’s consumers are living in an increasingly connected world. One where their demands are met instantly, seamlessly and digitally. The opportunity for people to be healthier and for health care professionals to provide higher quality care hinges on innovation, personalization and redefining the overall experience.

Consumers are in the driver’s seat, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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