5. Outside Players Are Making Consumer Trust a Top Priority
Incumbents from industries outside of healthcare, such as retail and technology, are keeping a close watch on healthcare’s $3 trillion spend, and wondering how they might better serve healthcare consumers. And those from inside and outside of healthcare are joining forces, such as the recently announced Comcast-Independence Blue Cross venture to create a consumer health technology platform, or the Amazon-Chase-Berkshire trifecta.
“Companies in B2C businesses today sit on data about consumers and have designed very compelling consumer experiences. If you think about Amazon, for everything from 1-Click to Prime, they’ve nailed it for the consumer. And if you think about Berkshire Hathaway, one of their portfolio companies is Geico,” she says. “Geico took an industry and a product that was not interesting, engaging, or emotional for a consumer, and made it funny and interesting – people talk about the Gecko. It’s a branding opportunity in a sector where people didn’t really think was possible.”
These kinds of capabilities are causing health insurers and healthcare providers to ask how they can do business differently to drive innovative capabilities grounded in addressing consumer need and creating economic value.
After all, the days of getting socked with a Blockbuster late fee rental became a thing of the past once Netflix redesigned the consumer video consumption experience, albeit not without some hesitation from consumers along the way who were perhaps initially skeptical to have DVDs delivered to their mailbox.
“Their moves forced Blockbuster to get rid of the late fees. Forbes Magazine characterized those fees as the real Achilles’ heel of the Blockbuster model. Blockbuster’s problem was that economic value was predicated on customers paying late fees,” says Helen. “Then Netflix disrupted themselves again and said, ‘Actually, we think streaming is the way of the future, and people are going to want immediate consumption.’”
“They took that five-day experience that ended with a late fee down to an instant experience. And as a result, they changed consumers’ behaviors.”
And these evolving – and highly trackable – consumer behaviors provide insight. Netflix relies on actual viewing data, rather than Nielsen ratings – to understand consumer viewing patterns and anticipate what content they’ll value most, Helen explained.
As voice recognition software, like Amazon’s Alexa, becomes a valuable health and healthcare tool, the most successful companies will be the ones consumers trust their data with.
“Because I’ve let Alexa into my home, she knows very personal information about me like when I turn off the lights and what music I listen to,” she says. “The right brands have built trust so we will allow them more permission. I think the trick is the first time it’s compromised, my guess would be there’s no going back.”
Building trust starts with authentic, genuine, personalized, and transparent interaction. As service models change, insurers can be viewed as patient champions and advocates.
“They sit on all or most of the data in terms of what procedures or conditions have what types of treatments, which ones are more efficacious, which ones get better outcomes, and what provider is better at this and that. Yelp’s not going to give you that,” she says.
But in terms of technology’s potential – like digital health apps – to transform the consumer experience, Helen says this process is still too fragmented and siloed to be impactful.
“There are tens of thousands of digital health apps in the app store. We haven’t seen the category killer yet, the one that knits together the jobs the consumer needs you to do in a personalized way – in the way Amazon feels to us today with retail shopping – while also addressing the nature of the system.”
“The provider’s data sits separately from the insurer’s data. No one has a whole picture of you yet. Those who start to knit together the holistic picture of an individual across all the touchpoints in the healthcare system are going to have a powerful offering.”
But Helen says tracking consumers through the collection of various pieces of information has its challenges. For one thing, consumers are often overwhelmed by biometric remote monitoring systems that track consumers’ heart rate, sleep patterns, steps, and resting heart rate.
“You get to a point where you feel like everything in your life is a data point, and you just want a little head space. We’re starting to see more wearables being left in the drawer for the weekend,” she says. “Without connection to guidance around how to use data and how to change behaviors, it’s hard for folks to plug into it and know what they should be doing.”
Designing the right non-intrusive offering that provides valuable information without making a consumer feel like someone’s is looking over her shoulder is key.
“Getting closer to the consumer in healthcare is increasingly a source of strategic control. There are several paths to build a strong relationship – help consumers save money, address a pervasive hassle, or receive needed advice, for example. Once you crack what matters most to that individual consumer, you have a bond that is hard for others to replicate. That’s where you want to be in the future health market.”