Over the past decade there has been a growing conversation nationally around the cost and effectiveness of care. The Accountable Care Act has infused the marketplace with more informed consumers, forcing payers to adjust their plan coverage to meet new requirements and serve this larger population of engaged plan participants. Simultaneously, healthcare providers have been exploring new means to better provide for patients; be it improvements in Electronic Medical Records or serving as an Accountable Care Organization (ACO)—by assuming a percentage of the financial risk associated with the care and outcomes of the services provided. But there is a new frontier in healthcare that is fast approaching: the consumer experience.
Today’s consumer’s expectations have changed. Pure functionality is not sufficient in winning consumer loyalty. Consumers have come to both expect and measure the value of what they have received based on the entirety of their experience, and this applies to everything from coffee shops to chiropractors. Yet the healthcare industry as a whole seems to have not caught up with this shift in consumer expectations. So where are we headed?
More Spa, Less Clinic
The physical atmosphere of clinics needs to shift away from clinical, antiseptic office spaces to warmer more inviting atmospheres that feel more like a spa experience than a traditional clinical visit. There are some early pioneers in this area such as Viverant, who has successfully blended high-end care with an inviting spa-like atmosphere.
Technology has touched consumers in almost every facet of their lives, and health care is no exception. However, much of what has been built for the industry has been done with the provider—not the patient—in mind. Simple touch points such as the patient sign-in are opportunities for providers to dramatically shape the consumer experience, which is often shared with friends and family via word of mouth.
A Strong Authentic Voice
More and more consumers—especially those in the Millennial generation—have turned to online means to determine the brands they intend to work for and buy from. While many brands have recognized this trend and began to engage with consumers online, the healthcare industry has been slow to adopt this approach. The brands that step forward and find ways to share the stories about what they stand for and who they are will be at a significant advantage when it comes to building a connection with both current and potential patients.