Our “What’s Next” predictions series continues with this view from Dan Shellenbarger, Oliver Wyman’s Global Head, Provider. He shares his perspective on the healthcare provider space, noting that in 2016—after several years of acquisition and partnering—a few pioneer health systems will stitch together a fully integrated experience. And when they do, they will start to distance themselves from the pack:
The past few years have seen health systems extend beyond “tall, gleaming assets,” acquiring primary care practices, building up physician networks, and venturing into retail. This is a departure from the pure brick-and-mortar, service-line mentality and reflects systems’ embracing of the omni-channel business model—a model that aims to deliver a seamless healthcare experience with multiple entry points and options for care.
While many systems are committed to building this type of consumer experience, a good percentage of them are still in the “gathering stage” acquiring assets and/or forming partnerships with key partners (telehealth, retail, urgent care, etc.). In most cases, the full network is not yet stitched together. Not by a long shot.
But this is a year of change. In 2016, a few pioneers will deliver a fully integrated experience. They will demonstrate that the multitude of interactions in an omni-channel system can be connected for a better overall experience. In the process, they will create a more durable relationship with the consumers they serve and start to distance themselves from the pack. It is the beginning of a new race.
Why now? Systems’ maturing IT systems are creating interoperability and granting previously isolated partners the ability to share data more effectively than even a few years ago. Further, the transition to value-based reimbursement is motivating providers to push some care to lower-cost, consumer-centric sites of care.
Pushed by these internal and market influences, systems will start to weave a multitude of key assets into an integrated system with a more intuitive, transparent, and consistent experience. Technology will play a key role in the integration of various assets, as telehealth, e-visits, and other forms of virtual and complementary care help to create a seamless experience in terms of data, coordination, payment, and follow-up care.
As consumers become more informed about the variety of options, they will become more adept at navigating the system—and that will result in both improved consumer experience and more efficient use of resources. For example, a sinus infection may not necessitate a trip to the physician’s office when it can be handled right in the neighbourhood at a retail clinic; or better yet, from the comfort of home via a telehealth appointment.
This year, as the pioneers eliminate barriers between the various channels, consumers will begin to realize a very different experience. They will find value in the convenience, commonality, and power of choice. And as consumers become accustomed to this deeper relationship, they will develop loyalty to the “ecosystem” (rather than a single physician or office); and they will seek insurance plans that sustain access to this new, preferred experience. The system, with its varied entry points and multitude of care encounters, will become the community’s preferred provider.
To be clear, this will not be the year of dramatic upheaval; there are only a handful of systems poised to weave together the fully developed, omni-channel experience. But the transition gets underway in 2016; and organizations that take the lead today will garner the health and loyalty of tomorrow’s healthcare consumers.