That’s the question many healthcare providers are asking now, in light of the fact that everyone from recognizable retailers to Internet titans have descended upon the industry to disrupt the way healthcare services are provided. It’s understandable for providers to feel bewildered by the newfound boldness of the healthcare consumer (what we used to call the “patient”); however, it’s important to understand that said boldness is not necessarily the consumer’s fault. As stated, other entities have come on the scene in recent years. They are intent on wreaking havoc on the way providers do business – and patients, hoping to save some money, are just doing their due diligence by researching all their options. Some of the ways that healthcare has become consumerized include new, non-traditional business models such as:
- Clinics setting up shop in grocery chain stores
- Medical tourism for surgeries and tests
- Online diagnostics and consultation
Of course, no one is saying these healthcare business models are recommended – but they are popular, and they cater to a new generation of patients that have grown up believing convenience is a right in their life, rather than a bonus. That belief would especially apply to their healthcare. Now that members of this generation are starting to have children of their own, they will naturally expect that their kids will have access to the same conveniences; in fact, they probably expect healthcare to become even more convenient as time goes on. As more and more providers begin to satisfy these expectations, the providers who fail to deliver the same convenience will be shut out.
So, how can providers make sure they don’t get left behind? True, it may not be practical to set up shop in a supermarket – but what about offering online access to medical records? This is a feature that many parents of young children appreciate. Extended hours are another amenity that providers can consider; it’s not non-traditional, but it’s certainly convenient, and it can help providers retain some of their more consumer-minded patients.
Providers that need guidance in the new, consumer-driven healthcare landscape may benefit from a consultation with a healthcare consultant. GM&A gladly speaks with providers that request this guidance; feel free to contact us today with your questions.