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Success in Modern Healthcare: Consumer-Centricity

Melissa French
4 min read

The Amazon’s, Zappos’, and Airbnb’s of the world changed brick and mortar offerings to cater to  omnichannel online experiences. No matter what business a consumer is looking to do, their expectations revolve around personalization, experiences, and on-demand availability. Yet, some industries such as healthcare are slow to catch up.

Today’s consumers are flooded by choice, and as such, apply more scrutiny to the companies they choose to do business with. When it comes to healthcare, shopping around for doctors is easier than ever before, which by and large, has created a level of competition the industry has never been faced with.  

With cutting-edge innovations such as augmented reality, 3D medical scans, and leadless pacemakers, it’s a bit surprising then to learn that the healthcare industry is so far behind in harnessing the full potential of data, especially in relation to creating a consumer-focused business.   

“Historically, healthcare organizations haven’t had an imperative to empower and engage consumers. Consumers didn’t expect it and healthcare organizations’ survival was not dependent on winning with consumers,” writes Scott Davis, Jeff Gourdji, Ed Rhoads, and Paul Schrimpf in Making the Shift – Healthcare’s Transformation to Consumer-Centricity.

The pressure is on for health organizations to up their consumer experience game. Suddenly, healthcare organizations need to factor in business aspects they could have forgone in the past such as brand loyalty and customer retention.

In an age where brand loyalty is being put to the test thanks to the information age and the nature of work changing, healthcare should be leaning on subject matter experts outside of the medical wheelhouse such as marketers, data scientists, and business analysts.

Patient-Centered Care Constructs

“…The fundamental idea is that the process of healing depends on knowing the patient as a person, in addition to accurately diagnosing their disease,” says Ronald M. Epstein, MD., of the University of Rochester.

This patient-centered style of communication has two clearly defined components, according to Epstein:

  1. Identifying and responding to patients’ ideas and emotions regarding their illness
  2. Reaching common ground about the illness, its treatment, and the roles that the physician and the patient will assume

While most can see these components as common sense — to ask the patient why they’re seeing a physician — they’re often overlooked in medical visits, according to Epstein. Many variables could be taken into account for this including antiquated ideals of what a doctor-patient relationship should be versus what it actually is.

It is clear that to understand the details of what comprises patient-centeredness, getting to know the patient on an emotional level is a must. This means physicians need to break the traditionally rigid communication style with patients and smooth over previous hurdles that were a consequence of poor communication. Relationships between physician and patient need to be more flexible and based on connection and emotion, according to Epstein.

This shift matters when patient-centered communication becomes linked with outcomes. And with value-based care, becoming more attuned to the intricacies of a patient is more important than in years past.

Couple this with the hypercompetitive medical landscape, where new options pop up everyday for seeing a doctor and extend as far as virtual services such as Teledoc, along with the increasing consumer demand — the pressure has never been greater for an industry to adjust.

The benefits of integrating a patient-centered care model, according to NEJM Catalyst, include:

  • Improved satisfaction scores among patients and their families.
  • Enhanced reputation of providers among health care consumers.
  • Better morale and productivity among clinicians and ancillary staff.
  • Improved resource allocation.
  • Reduced expenses and increased financial margins throughout the continuum of care.  

“As with other forms of value-based health care, patient-centered care requires a shift in the way a provider practices and health systems are designed, managed, and reimbursed. In keeping with the tenets of patient-centeredness, this shift neither happens in a vacuum, it is driven by traditional hierarchies in which providers or clinicians are the lone authority,” says NEJM Catalyst.  

One Part of The Bigger Picture

Patient-centeredness is just one part of the industry-wide shifts that we are seeing happen in modern healthcare today. To learn more details about the shift, download a copy of You Are Here: The Pioneer Days of the Relationship Between Healthcare and Data.

You Are Here: The Pioneer Days of the Relationship Between Healthcare & Data [eBook]


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