To remain viable in today’s healthcare market, companies must provide the digital tools and streamlined services their customers crave.
Amazon, the company that redefined how we buy books, clothes, and even our groceries, is now shaping the future of healthcare as we know it.
Last spring, the e-commerce giant opened Amazon Care — a healthcare service created for Amazon employees — to consumers nationwide. What makes Amazon Care truly unique is the speed and efficiency with which consumers can access top-quality care. Promoted as an on-demand healthcare service, Amazon Care allows consumers to connect with a clinician in minutes via an app, schedule at-home appointments for everything from blood draws to lung evaluations, and quickly order prescriptions right to their door.
By consolidating every point of the patient journey into a single platform, Amazon is actively addressing — and helping define — a new standard of care, one that speaks to growing consumer demand for personalization and convenience.
Addressing the Demands of the Modern Consumer
Today’s consumers are juggling multiple meetings, soccer games, yoga classes, family dinners, and a whole lot more. As a result, one attribute has become more important than almost any other: convenience.
Whether via meal prep services or clothing subscriptions, many of us are constantly looking for ways to streamline our days and get the most out of every minute. We apply this mentality to healthcare as well.
A study conducted by virtual healthcare company Medici claims that today’s patients blame our current healthcare system for lack of access, convenience, and personalization, with Millennials leading the pack as the most frustrated generation of them all. According to the study, 82% of patients agree that accessing healthcare on a mobile device should be as easy as ordering food or a car/rideshare and 69% would like to do virtual visits from their mobile device.
As consumer demand for convenience grows, so does the need for personalization — we don’t have time to answer forms or sift through information that doesn’t apply to us. In fact, one recent survey claims that 75% of U.S. consumers wish that their healthcare experiences were more personalized.
To keep pace with the Amazons of the world, healthcare marketers must step up to the plate and create their own game-winning formula — one that marries convenience and personalization to provide a great customer experience.
How to Keep Customers Engaged
Healthcare organizations that will succeed in today’s climate are those that streamline what is currently a very fragmented process and provide patients with one point of contact for fast, reliable primary care services. Healthcare marketers who want to develop these qualities must dive headfirst into the digital landscape, becoming versed in digital strategy and adopting new tools and technologies that will transform the way they operate.
A viable, competitive healthcare organization is one that:
- Provides customized communications: No patient wants to feel like a number. According to a study from leading software provider Redpoint Global, 54% of consumers feel that their healthcare providers and insurers don’t have the contextual information needed to personalize healthcare recommendations, and 58% would prefer their healthcare interactions to be digital. These facts cement the need for personalized online care that meets patients where they are in their healthcare journey.
- Gives patients the power to control their care: According to PEW research,61% of patients want to access their medical records via an app or online portal, but only 36% report that all of their providers allow them to. Healthcare organizations that deliver these digital services set themselves apart as organizations committed to empowering their patients.
- Streamlines the appointment booking process: Medici’s survey found that it takes patients nine minutes on average to make an appointment with a healthcare professional—that’s six times longer than it takes them to make a restaurant reservation. Whether via an app or online form, organizations must streamline this process for their customers to remain competitive.
- Provides virtual services: The COVID-19 pandemic has normalized telehealth appointments, online prescription ordering, the use of remote patient monitoring devices, and more. Patients love virtual care because it’s convenient (57%) and fast (47%) and nearly 88% want to continue using it after the pandemic has passed.
- Makes it easy to access support: Being sick or not knowing the answer to an important health-related question can feel isolating, and today’s patients want a trusted source they can quickly turn to for support. More specifically, 77% wish they could text with their physician, emphasizing the need for digital services that promptly connect patients and providers.
Paving a Path Forward
For healthcare companies that have relied on legacy systems to maintain their operations, a sudden shift to a more digital model can be overwhelming. But the shift doesn’t have to happen overnight.
Even small steps forward can have a big impact on customer experience. Companies that start by personalizing their emails or offering text communications gain a lot of credibility in the eyes of their customers. The rest of the technology — apps, online booking, etc. — are a heavier lift that need organizational support from within.
To execute this vision, data strategy experts and personalization leads must help companies break down data silos, allowing data to flow more freely. For some organizations, that means completely restructuring their operating models and technology stacks. While this is no small feat, it will enable them to provide the efficient healthcare services their customers demand to maintain happy, healthy lives.