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Our Take

Meeting out-of-industry digital experiences

10 Minute Read

Health care has long wanted to adopt the digital consumer experiences of banking, retail, and entertainment. However, health care has fallen short of that goal—often citing the unique difficulties of the industry.

Health care leaders should adopt a leapfrog strategy and take advantage of the lessons learned from its out-of-industry counterparts. Read on for the five components of a digital experience health care can adopt from other industries.


The conventional wisdom

Health care leaders want to meet consumers’ rising expectations for digital experiences—the types of experiences consumers are accustomed to in all other aspects of their lives, like banking, retail, and entertainment.. But even for motivated, progressive leaders, it can seem impossible for health care to meet the expectations that out-of-industry players have set.

Health care is too different from other industries.

Health care leaders often defend poor digital experiences, arguing that health care is too different from other industries. Here are the three common excuses we hear.

  • The rules of consumerism don’t apply to health care. There’s not the same level of choice, transparency, or motivation to access digital services in health care as there is in other industries.
  • Health care is too regulated and complex, making it difficult for leaders to implement broad changes while maintaining compliance to policy and regulations.
  • The personal nature of health care makes it difficult to transition to digital experiences, where there could be a loss of connection and empathy.

There are no guideposts for improving the digital experience.

On top of that, there is no clear roadmap on where or how to invest in digital experiences which makes it difficult for health care leaders to:

  • Prioritize solutions. There are many facets to the health care digital experience and leaders struggle to know where to start and how to make the biggest impact.
  • Make the case for ROI. Because the digital experience is multi-faceted and consumers have different preferences, it’s hard to draw a line between investment and return.

Our take

Health care leaders can, and should, aim for out-of-industry digital experiences

The competitive landscape is everchanging, and health care leaders must meet demand for better experiences or risk falling even further behind in digital transformation.

  • Consumer expectations for digital experiences are rising. According to Cedar, 28% of patients switched their provider because of a poor digital experience. And that experience includes everything from scheduling to virtual visits to billing. People of all demographics have become more technologically savvy and feel empowered now more than ever to take control of their health.
  • Competitors are already improving their digital experiences. Disruptors like One Medical have built their market around patient-centered experiences that include digital capabilities. But it’s not just “disruptors” that are making progress—incumbents have also made moves. A study by PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 81% of health plan executives are investing in technology to improve member experience; and a patient engagement trends survey found that 77% of digital health executives are investing in enhanced portals and mobile apps.

The bottom line: leaders who procrastinate on investment in digital experience will not only be behind other industries but will also be behind their peers in health care.

Health care organizations don’t have to start from scratch.

Health care leaders don’t have to start from scratch when it comes to creating a good digital experience. Consumers have already learned to interact digitally in other aspects of their lives and can bring that skill and knowledge to their interactions with health care.

Leaders can look to other industries, not to mimic their experiences exactly, but to identify what works well and what could apply to health care. They can learn from the failures and successes of other industries as they continue to invest in digital experiences.


Five components of a good digital experience

We’ve identified five components that out-of-industry players prioritize in digital experiences. They are ordered in terms of feasibility to implement and are meant to build off each other.

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    Customer service

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Parting thoughts

The goal for health care leaders is to implement each component into a cohesive digital experience for patients. Creating a digital experience is not a quick fix. But using these components as building blocks will help health care organizations work towards the strong digital experiences that other industries offer.

One last thing: consider how these components will impact all stakeholders, not just patients

Investments to improve digital consumer experiences impact all stakeholders, not just patients. Providers, plans, and other health care organizations will have better experiences as these components are implemented. For example, self-service can decrease the administrative burden for staff and omnichannel experiences can make it easier for providers and plans to manage patients across their care journeys.

At the same time, the implementation of these components will require stakeholders to accept and adopt a new way of providing health care. As always, stakeholder buy-in is crucial to a successful project. Leaders should include other stakeholders throughout implementation of these components and provide training on changes to backend processes and workflows.

Ultimately, a good experience for all stakeholders will translate to a better experience for patients.

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