The consumerization of healthcare is here and Amazon’s news-making acquisition of One Medical just turned up the heat on the competition in the marketplace. We've known for some years that patients were no longer content with a one-size-fits-all experience from their healthcare providers. They wanted the same level of customer service they receive from retailers like Amazon and now they are one step closer to receiving their healthcare directly from them. Amazon’s collective healthcare portfolio if combined into a single service provider may be a formidable opponent for competing providers nationwide.
“I think even currently these pieces exist in silos kind of within Amazon's ecosystem, but if they can pull it together, I think it can offer a very holistic experience that we've really been missing in U.S. health care."
-Dr. Matthew Sakumoto, Clinician and Digital Health Expert
If the big box store model is coming to healthcare, it means big changes for providers who are already under tremendous pressure to provide a more modern patient experience. From being convenient, accessible, and responsive to patients' needs, to providing them with the tools they need to make informed decisions about their health, many health systems are still struggling to implement new processes and consumer-centric technologies— yet few have the resources needed to do so. The covid-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the industry, both in terms of the strain on resources and the financial toll it has taken. With budgets already tight, many healthcare providers are finding it difficult to afford the kinds of innovations that are needed to compete in a consumer-centric market.
What can you do if you can’t afford to innovate?
On the most basic level, in order to remain competitive, healthcare providers will need to find ways to cut costs and improve efficiency. One way to do this is to put more focus on patient access. Missed appointments cost the industry an estimated $150 billion dollars annually. Improving patient access processes at your organization can reduce the number of missed appointments and no-shows, significantly impacting your bottom line and helping to make room for necessary innovations.
Another strategy is to play to your strengths.
While it may be true that Amazon can offer a more convenient experience, they'll never be able to match the personal touch that patients can get from their local provider. This means, that in this new era of healthcare, patient loyalty is more important than ever. Health systems must not only provide a level of customer service that meets the expectations of today’s healthcare consumers, it has to exceed them. Patients have more choices than ever and they are not afraid to switch providers. In fact, a 2022 study showed that 69% of patients would readily switch providers if they felt they could get better service elsewhere.
Where convenience holds the most power, patient loyalty may be the key to success.
By nature, the more consumerism is injected into the patient experience, the more it will lose its human touch. By making a personal connection with each patient and showing them that you care about their well-being, you can build a relationship of trust that will keep them coming back, even if there are other cheaper or more tech-savvy options available. In the end, the human plus tech approach could make the difference in whether or not a health system survives (or thrives) in a consumer-driven market.
Contact us today to learn how an Envera partnership can make it easier for patients to access care and help you build loyalty through a superior patient experience that ensures a competitive advantage.