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May 15, 2019
HEALTHCARE SERVICES: CONSUMERS OWN THE FUTURE
By: Christian Nejm

My previous blog talks about personalised medicine – an emerging discipline that has the potential to change the industry. In that piece I talk of the era of uber personalisation – i.e. personalising the science and the experience – focusing on the science. In this piece we explore the other side of the equation – personalising the experience and shifting the power to the healthcare consumer.

Liquid expectations

Consumers have liquid expectations. Experiences in other industries – read travel and tourism, banking and retail – have shifted the power to the consumers, providing unprecedented levels of personalisation.

As competition heats up for consumer driven healthcare, healthcare organisations will need to plan the route carefully if they expect consumers to turn the steering wheel in their direction. I see four main implications of these facts:

  • The consumer’s rise to power will intensify exponentially.
  • A “new normal” of service and experience will be universally expected.
  • Consumers will work, play, and live on their terms.
  • Healthcare incumbents will sunset, streamline, or completely reimagine their consumer plays.

A firmer grip on the wheel will inevitably lead to superior customer service, loyalty In a market driven by consumers' liquid expectations, middling levels of service will no longer cut it. The business focus will shift from peddling products and services to building long term relationships and improving the experience to meet current, but also unforeseen future demands. Businesses can increase revenues by providing higher levels of personalisation, convenience and service that customers will see as an attractive destination. But they’ll have to sustain those service levels because the next provider is just down the road, a turn or two away.

Personalisation and consumer relationships

Consumers recognise their ability to steer the relationship and continue to demand value (whatever that may mean!), as a result, competition will intensify. Economic value and growth potential need to be aligned with the ability to ‘own’ the consumer experience. The Accenture 2018 Consumer Survey on Digital Health indicated that consumers (50% of them, in fact) say the overall enjoyment of their experience is important to their purchasing decision, and 61% of millennials prioritise personalisation.

In recognition of the new normal, many Australian health organisations are shifting the focus to customer relationship development, with traditional B2B2C models (accessing services via the GP) shifting – to direct to consumer models and winning the customer.

The Accenture 2019 Digital Health Consumer Survey indicates that consumers make decision on when and where to seek medical treatment based on convenience – location (31% of respondents), wait times (18% of respondents) and convenient scheduling options (15% of respondents) all featuring among the top considerations.

Medibank Private’s Medibank at Home program tailors treatment to the consumer. Members can receive healthcare services in the comfort and convenience of their homes. The Children’s Hospital at Westmead in Sydney has integrated personalised digital experience into the patient journey with the My Health Memory inpatient solution. The interactive system provides patients with on-demand entertainment options. Over time clinical features will be added to form the foundations for sharing of individual’s health information to provide personalised healthcare solution and health-engine allows users to book medical appointments on their own terms.

Don’t get left behind

To engage and maintain customers, healthcare organisations need to prioritise the consumer experience.

FOCUS: on loyalty and maintain the customer relationship by understanding and pre-empting customer expectations

DELIVER: on (or exceed) the expectations through personalisation and product and service innovation.

With consumers driving, it’s time to climb in the car or get left behind. Feel free to reach out if you have any thoughts or questions. I’m happy to chat.

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