Executives need to shift cultures and mindsets and build skill sets to acknowledge the business impact from the empowered consumer. This means healthcare brand managers will need to assess their reputations with far more rigor while considering data and insights from customer measures of satisfaction and quality along with social media activity and third-party sources.
Given consumers are known for freely expressing their opinions, brand managers will need to avoid reacting to news in favor of having standard processes in place to investigate and reform any systemic roots associated with positive and negative consumer experiences or ratings.
How to justify investments in the consumer movement?
Mounting evidence of how individuals behave is underscoring the need for investments in consumer health. For example, in the U.S., more consumers are actively making decisions between competing insurance companies, particularly in public health exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
This move has been even more significant in the Medicare and Medicare shift to private options, competing managed care organizations (MCOs). Although employer-offered multi-carrier private exchanges have not moved as quickly as anticipated, they are still enrolling millions of employees each year.
Other evidence points to the need to update a data exchange strategy. The steady rise of consumerization in all service industries—with the ubiquity of mobile devices and increased availability of medical information—emphasizes the need to make services more accessible. Consumers expect ease-of-use when they seek trusted advice and education from providers.
All of this gets challenging when it comes to data, which is growing at unprecedented rates in both volume and variety. Executives should establish a position toward consumer data sharing, especially since electronic heath record (EHR) adoption rates have exploded in the U.S. and globally.
Data and analytics leaders in healthcare organizations should also evaluate Apple’s FHIR-based health API, which enables iOS to function as a personal health record (PHR). Dozens of providers have adopted Apple’s Health API, which represents millions of patients. Other consumer-oriented digital tools, including GoodRx and Blink Health, help patients and caregivers reduce drug costs (whether or not they have insurance). In some cases, purchasing drugs outside of insurance actually saves the consumer money.