Adopting a Consumer-Centric Mindset Across Your Organization
Doug Pfaff, Craig Deao, Ken Beers, Marc Tomassi, Rich Rohrbach
Consumers want products and services to be available at a time and place that is most convenient for them and they are rewarding businesses that meet these demands. These demands aren’t limited to traditional B2C industries like retail and hospitality, but extend to healthcare organizations, research institutions and drug manufacturers.
Being consumer-centric is more than offering after-hours appointments, a medication brochure or free parking; it’s a shift from focusing only on caring for patients to a comprehensive approach that continually engages with consumers. Organizations that adopt a consumer-centric mindset are positioning themselves for success. To do so, organizations must:
- Treat individuals like consumers
- Make it easy
- Tap into digital
- Be strategic in choosing where to activate consumers
Treat Individuals as Consumers
Individuals are patients, participants and human subjects for a short amount of time, but these titles don’t acknowledge the fact that they made a conscious decision to purchase from an organization. This decision is shaped by information related to ease of access, cost and quality. Shifting your frame of reference to one where you treat individuals like consumers will change the way you view your relationship with them, moving from one focused simply on providing great care to engaging with them whether they are sick or well.
Shifting your frame of reference to one where you treat individuals like consumers will change the way you view your relationship with them.
To focus on the patient as a consumer, identify their unmet needs, how their health-related activities impact their lives and develop products or services that doesn’t just treat illnesses, but improves their daily lives. Grocery delivery services don’t just offer convenient delivery, but they allow consumers to use the time they would have been grocery shopping to engage in other activities. The same can be said for prescription drug delivery services that bring the medication to consumers when and where they want it. Capsule Pharmacy, takes this one step further by not just delivering the prescription but fulfilling other consumer needs as they coordinate refills and copays allowing patients to get their prescription with minimal disruption.
Make Things Simple
Confusing, complex processes and guidelines are not consumer friendly. As a starting point for creating a consumer-centric organization, think about how you can make it easier for consumers to interact with your organization. Look at your scheduling tools, medication instructions or clinical trial descriptions, and assess if they are easy to use. In addition, give consumers the ability to make informed decisions by providing easy-to-find, easy-to-compare health information. By following the example of other industries such as car manufacturers and travel booking sites, consumers can digest and understand their care options and make decisions about their healthcare purchases in the same way that they make decisions around buying a car or booking a trip. By simplifying healthcare-related processes and doing so with the consumer in mind, small changes can transform the experience. Hale Health puts consumers at the center of their healthcare. Messages, task lists, appointment reminders, educational materials, appointment scheduling and reminders, and video visits are all available for consumers participating in clinical trials. With these consistent touchpoints, consumers clearly understand what’s expected of them and they are continually engaged in clinical trials. Hale Health offers similar services for healthcare as well as easily accessible personal medical information and health literature from Mayo Clinic.
Tap Into Digital
Digital, data-driven technology can automate and accelerate processes that improve and personalize the consumer experience while empowering consumers to take charge of their health. This includes offering recommendations based on a consumer’s history, using data to develop personalized emails and making services more accessible.
Healthcare organizations are using technology to bring information and care to consumers in new ways. Several healthcare systems now have apps that allow patients to check emergency department wait times, schedule appointments, view their medical records, receive telehealth services and contact their physician, empowering consumers to take control of their health. Amazon’s Alexa offers medical tips from Mayo Clinic providers, putting the organization at the top of mind for consumers. Apple’s latest update to its Health app includes a personal health record that centralizes information from disparate systems. In partnership with Stanford, Apple is studying if the Apple Watch can detect atrial fibrillation. By tapping into digital for clinical trials, they are moving clinical trials outside of the four walls of a research institution. If it’s successful, this technology will also move detection for this condition away from the traditional care delivery setting.
A useful tool for personalizing the healthcare experience is customer relationship management (CRM) software. Retailers use CRMs to gather a more holistic picture of their consumers’ buying habits, allowing them to create a more personalized customer experience. Similarly, healthcare providers can use CRMs to gain a better understanding of consumers’ health habits by connecting disparate data systems and identifying behavior patterns. This allows them to proactively share information that’s pertinent to a specific consumer and build a relationship with them. This data is also useful in developing more consumer-centric care delivery by identifying trends that correlate with no-shows, patient satisfaction and treatment options, and plans to address them.
Be Strategic in Choosing Where to Activate Consumers
Think about ways your organization can be strategic in developing a consumer-centric approach by understanding consumer behavior and where investments in more consumer-centric approaches will drive results. To do so truly understand your market and the unique consumer needs in each segment. Make investments in tools and technologies that will help you understand these needs and deploy technology that will empower consumers and deliver a return on investment. For instance, if there is a high dropout rate for a particular segment of a clinical trial or a high readmission rate for a specific condition, this could be a result of a lack of consumer centricity. Consider if technology, like text message reminders, could keep participants more engaged in a clinical trial or prevent patients from forgetting their medication leading to readmission. A collaborative effort between pharmaceutical companies, research institutions and/or healthcare providers can create this approach, thus increasing protocol compliance or medication adherence, or improving chronic disease management.
Many collaborative efforts bring care outside the four walls of the hospital and clinical trial sites through the use of apps to monitor patient health and online platforms. This gives patients the autonomy to manage their health on their terms, with minimal disruptions to their daily life. Therapeutics can be optimized with patient generated data so they are easier to use and more effectively manage health conditions. For instance, continuous glucose monitoring improves disease management by using patient generated data to optimize medication dosing and remove the burden of insulin testing from patients.
Consumers demand more. Organizations that respond to this demand by creating innovative solutions that meet their needs will stay ahead of competition, transform the consumer experience and thrive in the age of consumer choice.Download Now