Goodbye Patients; Hello Consumers

November 30, 2017
Jessica Levco

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.”