Shifting Toward Consumer-Centricity: Insights and Lessons From Emerging Transformations

Shifting Toward Consumer-Centricity: Insights and Lessons From Emerging Transformations

Jeff Gourdji (Prophet, USA) and Scott M. Davis (Prophet, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 33
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-2949-2.ch003


In the face of government reform and competitive disruption, healthcare organizations are in need of consumer-centric transformation: transformation that will help them win when consumers shop for a doctor, plan, or medicine and engage them in their care to form a partnership that will improve outcomes and lower costs. The authors interviewed 70 senior executives at leading provider systems, health plans, and pharmaceutical manufacturers to understand their transformation agenda. Interviews asked such question as What initiatives and changes are underway? Where have they had success? What will come next? Where have they struggled?” And, most importantly, What can others learn from them? Davis and Gourdji uncovered five shifts and share practical advice and examples of what these leaders are doing to set them in motion.
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The Era Of The E-Consumer

Change has been on the horizon for many years for healthcare organizations, both in how they do business and in how they engage consumers. In the past, experts discussed the need for healthcare organizations to drive preference and selection–how organizations convince consumers that they are the best hospital, plan or medication. But the healthcare landscape has changed drastically from this time; conversations have shifted focus to driving engagement, relationships and loyalty—much like other consumer businesses. Today’s healthcare world belongs to the “e-consumer.”

The e-consumer is not a technology term. The genesis is the “e-patient,” a concept coined in the 1990s by the late Dr. Tom Ferguson, M.D., an American physician who advocated for participatory medicine and the increasing role of patients in managing their own healthcare. E-patients, he says, are empowered, engaged, equipped and enabled. E-patients are not just patients who engage for purposes of self-diagnosis. These individuals also engage in their own health management, partnering closely with organizations in order to find the solutions that work best for them.

The e-patient, however, is a concept limited to direct interactions with healthcare organizations. It is important that patients are engaged when they are ill; but their behavior outside the clinic, hospital or doctor’s office has significant implications and cannot be disregarded. That’s why the concept has been expanded. Similar to the e-patient, the e-consumer is empowered, engaged, equipped and enabled, but for the e-consumer, moments of health are just as important as moments of sickness. Serving e-consumers means giving them tools that see them through recovery and beyond and designing services that cure and empower them.

The Growing Population of E-Consumers

Today, only the beginning of consumer centricity in healthcare is emerging and while there is still a long way to go to achieve full consumer centricity, traditional healthcare organizations are taking smalls steps while contemplating bigger moves that others can learn from.

Many healthcare organizations are at a disadvantage when it comes to consumer centricity, because they were not built to meet the expectations of consumers today. Providers historically have taken a paternalistic approach to care, in which the doctor always knows best. Payers were built to serve employers and manage costs. And pharmaceutical companies have driven their business through providers, not patients. The challenges are several:

A Limited View of the Health Journey

Across the healthcare spectrum, organizations have historically focused on a specific part of the health journey. Healthcare providers are structurally designed to serve patients who are sick and need treatment, not consumers who are managing their health. Providers, payers, and pharmaceutical companies all focus on patients at the point of care, not across the health journey.

Figure 1.

Holistic view of the healthcare journey


Learning the Wrong Lessons

Healthcare organizations sometimes follow the steps of tech companies by latching onto trends without considering how those trends will perform in healthcare or if they are even relevant. They invest in programs like apps or updated websites, which serve only as Band-Aids for a larger problem and sometimes even make it worse. In the pharmaceutical industry alone, 26 percent of the more than 700 apps created are used only once—and nearly three-quarters of them are abandoned by the 10th use.1

Key Terms in this Chapter

Plus Product: A comprehensive solution-oriented approach to serving the patient, layering on elements, as needed, to create an ecosystem and drive the desired outcome.

Insights Operating System (IOS): A system whose function is to help organizations get to the right insights, drive the right decisions at the right time and win with the right consumers.

Lifelong Consumerist: Experts from consumer-centric industries, such as packaged goods, bring a consumer-first mindset.

E-Consumer: Empowered, engaged, equipped, and enabled healthcare consumers.

Consumerism: The protection or promotion of the interests of consumers.

Consumer Data Value Exchange (CDVE): A mechanism for determining what consumers will receive in return for sharing personal data.

Invested Healer: Leaders with a background in medicine or clinical care, they have hands-on experience working with patients, deeply understand the clinical experience and have a personal interest in improving the overall patient experience.

Best-Practice Strategist: These leaders come from industries like consulting, where they have worked with organizations in many sectors to solve a range of business challenges similar to those in healthcare.

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