Goodbye Patients; Hello Consumers


Start seeing your radiology patients as consumers.

Start seeing your radiology patients as consumers.

That’s the advice attendees heard during RSNA’s Tuesday session, “Patients Are Expecting a Retail Experience: 5 Principles from Retail Health.” The session was led by Matt Henry and Calvin Cheng from Point B, a firm that focuses on management consulting, property development, and VC.

The duo shared a few reasons why there’s an emphasis for health care leaders to take a cue from the retail space:  

• Changes to the business model

• Developments with new technology

• Increased competition

• Complex affiliations

“Where we really see a shift to a consumer-driven audience is that people are facing higher deductibles,” Henry said. “Patients are spending more out-of-pocket, so we’re seeing that they do more research before they see their doctor. They know they have choices. Especially with MACRA, there’s more of an emphasis on patient-centered care. Whenever government rolls something out, businesses usually follow.” 

Cheng explained how retail is focused on bridging the physical and digital divide for a unified experience for consumers. The two said this is something that hospitals could do, too.

Here are a few ideas: 

• Lead the way on providing a better mobile experience

• Personalize educational content and relevant promotions

• Explore ways to digitize medication adherence

• Better coordinate care between remote providers and teleconsultants

• Offer transparent or consolidated billing

• Provide easier access to patient records

• Create (or partner with an agency) digitized hospital wayfinding

• Text reminders for appointments and provide online scheduling

The speakers urged attendees to pay attention to the process of a consumer journey. Knowing the ins-and-outs of how a patient makes a decision about their health care can provide a fuller, more rich experience for the patient. 

Here are two examples of health care organizations that are starting to see patients like consumers:

• Oscar: This is a health care insurance company that simplifies the process of insurance. Take a look at Oscar’s app that makes it easy to make an appointment, message with doctors and get “paid for walking.” Yep. You read that correctly.

• Kaiser Permanente’s Manhattan Beach location. KP is known for its integrated delivery model and this video highlights what doctors and patients can expect inside the Manhattan Beach location. It features a spa-like atmosphere, along with a community room that can be used for cooking classes or community events. “A community room inside a primary care office is a great way for KP to expand its connection with the community,” Henry says.

“Being consumer-driven means that health care organizations need to think about a patient’s care experience before, during, and after it happens,” Cheng said. “It’s an all-encompassing experience.”

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