Business of Well-being

5 Must-Have Upgrades For Consumer-Focused Health Systems

Consumer-focused health systems are reshaping the field of healthcare. Advocating consumer-centricity and empowerment, these health systems make customers in charge of their healthcare options and costs.

They allow customers to become aware of and choose from a wide range of health plans, look after their well-being via self-help tools, select the healthcare provider of their choice and improve their overall healthcare experience in many ways.

This shift from conventional healthcare to consumer-centric healthcare has encouraged several service providers to capitalize on a growing market. However, the pace of innovation in this field is fast and we see service providers struggling to stay on top of things to retain and grow their market.

Here, we have listed the five must-have upgrades that consumer-focused health systems need to incorporate in order to remain competitive.

1. Consistent Quality

The importance of clinical and service quality when it comes to healthcare can't be overstated as there is absolutely no margin for error. Not to mention, a single negative review on a social media platform can have extremely adverse effects on the reputation and reliability of a health system.

However, we see that our healthcare systems focus on maintaining quality standards aimed mostly at minimizing the risk associated with service breakdowns. This gives an opportunity to any consumer-focused health system to increase its market share by offering reliable and consistent service - absolutely minimizing or altogether eliminating chances of a breakdown.

Health systems can explore advantageous options such as an enterprise platform that enables standardization of care and a consumer-driven dashboard pertaining to quality. Additionally, health systems should boast the expertise and years of work experience of their doctors on their online platforms as patients prefer doctors with excellent reputations and previous experience with their specific medical condition.

2. Ease of Access

People take health matters very seriously and hence they prefer to opt for a health system that offers options that are convenient as well as diverse. According to the results of a Primary Care Consumer Choice Survey, six out of the top ten driving factors in choosing a health system are associated with convenience and readily available access to health services.

With growing industry competition, same-day access to primary care has become an essential component for the success of health systems. However, now we see leading consumer-focused health systems working to differentiate themselves via a superior and more convenient customer experience.

This can be accomplished by enabling ease of access to specialist services by establishing a  'care network' for urgent medical concerns, same-day specialist consultation, and an affiliated medical retail store.

3. Costs

Medical services cost a huge amount of money. Most health systems require a premium fee even for basic healthcare facilities like ultrasounds. On the other hand, we see that customers are prepared to go to extreme lengths to acquire medical services at low rates.

Consumers prefer low out-of-the-pocket costs over a recommended healthcare center. People are also very price sensitive when it comes to surgical procedures. In addition to this, there is currently little or no price transparency in the industry. Therefore, it is imperative that health systems endeavor to provide services at rates below their competition.

They can also work towards a justified fixed-cost fee structure where patients know exactly what they are paying for. A major advantage can be reaped by making use of self-help diagnosis applications. The most recommended are applications associated with cognitive ailments because many times people feel hesitant to open up about such concerns.

The Brain Test app is a great example here. It is based on the internationally acclaimed SAGE a self-administered test that enables users to detect mild cognitive impairments (MCI online). The SAGE test, though effective in assessing impairments, was a pen and paper test and needed a digitized upgrade.

Consequently, a larger number of people now have access to this test from the very comforts of their homes. The same strategy can be applied to several other health systems. The use of such applications will have multiple far-reaching benefits. Firstly, they completely comply with the underlying aim of customer empowerment of consumer-focused health systems.

Secondly, they significantly reduce the load of operational procedures for your health system. Thirdly, they increase the efficacy of your health system manifolds as they reduce chances of a delayed diagnosis and treatment due to a hectic routine or a mere hesitation to seek medical assistance.

These are low-cost alternatives that will enable you to increase service quality while allowing you to offer services at reasonable rates.

4. Loyalty Programs

The healthcare industry does not enjoy the long lasting loyalty of customers as patients do not find much incentive to stick to only one health system. Therefore, we see that the nature of the company-customer relationship is purely transactional.

This can be remedied by implementing employee loyalty programs that offer customers a superior and customized user experience and maybe even discounts. This can be achieved via formal memberships, a thorough onboarding process for new members and a personalized user account.

5. Financial Support

Consumer-focused health systems are all about the consumer, and yet we see that their interfaces are mostly tricky to maneuver for an average user specifically when it comes to financial matters such as bills and payments.

According to a recent survey by TransUnion Healthcare, only 25% of patients in the US have the provision of viewing pre-treatment estimates. Financial suitability is what drives the choice of healthcare services and difficulty to assess costs causes customers to make uninformed decisions.

Hence, we see that many customers show discontent over unexpected bills. This difficulty and ambiguous functionality impedes customer loyalty as customers have a huge number of health system options to choose from. Moreover, the survey also found that 84% of customers believe that price estimates will eventually determine the healthcare provider they will opt for.

Therefore, if service providers wish to retain their existing market share and attract new users, it is essential that they make financial transactions more user-friendly. They can do so by hosting a digital transaction system and by providing users the provision of calculating cost estimates for the healthcare options of their choice.These upgrades will ensure that you remain the top pick for users of consumer-focused health systems.

About the Author

Audrey Throne is a mother and a professional blogger by choice. She has completed her masters in English literature from the university of Birmingham. As a blogger, she wrote quite a few posts on health, technology as well as management. Find her on Twitter: @audrey_throne.

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