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Engage Consumers February 22, 2016

Point of View: Meet the New Healthcare Consumer

Chairman & CEO, HealthCAWS
Key Takeaway
Forward looking orgs will break down silos to promote a simplified consumer experience - Rose Maljanian @HealthCAWS

Rose Maljanian is the founder and CEO of HealthCAWS, a privately held corporation focused on improving health and making healthcare more affordable by aligning accountability models and supports for success. Throughout her career, Maljanian has served on the frontlines of health innovation as SVP for Product Innovation at Magellan Health Services, a senior member of the Innovation Center leadership team at Humana, and as the founding director of Hartford Hospital's Institute for Outcomes Research and Evaluation. Here, she has put together a composite of the qualities that can both enhance - and detract from - the experience of the new healthcare consumer:

Healthcare in the US is complex and needs an overhaul on quality, cost, and service. Few argue this point. In some cases, yes, complexity and intensity is warranted and expensive. Most would agree that we need tertiary-care hospitals to stand ready to perform a complex surgery when a child’s life is at stake or treat those affected by mass casualties when a tragedy occurs. However, for everyday routine care and health maintenance, we can do better and meet the call to deliver simplified, effective, and affordable services and support, redefined as Consumer Value.

The thought leaders and disruptors are here to do just that. They are repositioning their existing companies or entering the healthcare space with new companies in droves. At the recent More Disruption Please event, hosted by athenahealth and StartUp Health, 30 startups gave 60-second pitches to a standing-room-only crowd of investors and industry leaders. These new companies are promoting population health, while recognizing the importance of the N of 1, as described by Dr. David Nash, the dean of the Jefferson School of Population Health.

And, they are talking about curating a consumer experience that rather than throwing everything we have at everyone, provides a unique experience that resonates with them, an approach embraced by leaders like Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini. So collectively, we are talking about preparing to exceed the expectations of the New Consumer (not the patient), or face losing their loyalty, necessary to succeed both in mission and financial viability, to someone that will.

Experience Enhancers: The New Consumer is more likely than not to...

  • Expect to be treated with respect, as a whole person - mind and body - not a body part or disease
  • Want information in pictures or soundbites
  • Be informed and willing to “vote with their feet”  if they do not get what they are seeking
  • Be wired technically, demanding intuitive interactivity from the web, mobile, and whatever comes next
  • Experience time pressures and desires that demand fast and convenient services
  • Accept care extenders including people and environments that are more convenient
  • Shop for price and tightly manage out-of-pocket costs due to increasing financial pressures
  • Participate in self-management initiatives when criteria of ease to participate and value are met
  • Consider opinions and experiences of peers in addition to the expert’s view

Experience Detractors: The New Consumer is more likely than not to be intolerant of...

  • Long waits or complex processes
  • Unknowledgeable or discourteous staff
  • Redoing paperwork, e-forms, or diagnostic tests
  • Not getting the outcome they were promised or expected
  • Missing time from work or their usual activities if there are other options
  • Overpay, especially for marginal or poor quality
  • Go along with mandates or pressure to participate in initiatives that they do not find valuable
  • Except excuses organizations make for themselves like "we have always done it this way"

Forward looking organizations will break down silos internally and with outside organizations to promote an across-the-care-continuum, simplified consumer experience. They will integrate services within their communities and where people live work and play. They will leverage technology to bring care and services to consumers on demand, their terms and their turf.  Most importantly, they will manage their processes and policies behind the scenes to the benefit of the population overall, while focusing on the experience and outcomes of the individual consumer before them, in that moment, as if no one else matters or exists.

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