POSTED BY: Katie Ittenbach | October 8, 2015
In an age of streamlining healthcare buying and ever-present information access, how can providers stay relevant and retain their patients? Make it easier for patients to navigate the health landscape and give them a central contact point. Add value by offering a consistent and appropriate amount of resources for the patient – what do they actually seek most often, are they receiving that in full, are there lacking areas in their service experience? Specific research can help answer these questions of your customer base.
One thing remains constant: you must now meet the consumer where they are and deliver more value than they can achieve navigating a perilous, on-demand marketplace on their own. Various healthcare companies are responding differently: insurance companies, workplaces, and healthcare providers are all trying to provide value outside the box of the traditional PCP system.
Some hospital systems have, for example, established centers focused around thematic care: a regional hospital’s integrated health service center lifted usage interest from 35% to 48% for the hospital. Despite a significant shift in the way consumers are accessing healthcare and working to make it suit their needs within the system. With these advocacy programs and messaging around personalization, healthcare companies are finding opportunities to build their brand and increase customer loyalty and retention.
Another solution is to relieve the patient of the burden of choice and introduce a patient advocate. This advocate or navigator is the central contact for every test, path, and procedure the patient has to undergo, and will be the person “making sense” of the complicated landscape patients face. So, how to position initiatives like navigators or thematic care centers go even further and drive loyalty?
Procedures like cholesterol tests, health screenings, and simple tests and treatments should be positioned as easy and efficient. Further brand connection can be fostered by grouping services thematically – like the Women’s Center, essentially assuring the patient’s care as an individual but across different life stages and needs within a certain theme. When the time comes, a more serious procedure will be considered through this vendor, building on a positive brand relationship.
Consumers need to be reassured that current healthcare providers would be integrated into the care offering. Consistent access to a standardized level of care, with personal advocates, are regarded positively. Another tool employed by health system patients is a unified patient record, which lowers friction for the consumer and consolidates the experience.
Will the healthcare of the future be boutique, concierge service? Will PCPs phase out in favor of experienced nurse practitioners and a la carte retail clinic services? Can a patient be loyal to one method for life? The landscape will shift, but one thing remains certain: don’t lose the voice of the patient in the course of restructuring any care offering.