Monday, January 11, 2016

Two Big Mistakes Health Care Providers Are Making

We all can agree, I believe, that the era of patient engagement i.e. self-managed care is coming upon health care providers like a tsunami. It starts with the recasting of the dynamics of the health care delivery model which are being ever more driven by changes in payment models, quality of care metrics and technology. The more important drivers are, however, are that patients are seizing ever more control over their desire to manage their own health care and while doing so are becoming more representative of conventional consumer behavior, as they have been conditioned to it in other technology driven service sectors. Their experience in these other sectors has cultivated them to want open choices and self-managed, instant interactions via technologies. 

To express it another way - we will see an ever increasing trend in patients (read: consumer) moving (read: shopping) amongst care providers driven by their perception of the availability of and the quality of the patient engagement service component. The number of patients moving amongst providers, a number which I will call ‘customer churn’ is driving upwards toward the same percentage levels as in other technology driven subscription service industries. I expect to see a 10% churn rate to quickly become the new norm in health care. This means millions in lost revenues if not managed.

The mistakes start with care providers not having a proprietary, robust mobile patient engagement system. The studies I see, put the availability of such proprietary service applications being offered at less than 15% and sadly, they for the most part have poor satisfaction ratings versus the externally provided solutions. Bridging to the home in a proprietary manner will be critical.

Here is the real mistake. If care providers do not develop their own high quality proprietary patient engagement applications and rather chose to proceed to continue to outsource this function to third party external vendors, then the technical wolves of healthcare will soon be poaching their patients to the add-on health care services they plan to offer once the patient base that the health care providers have given third party providers is big enough. After all, now that they have your patients in their database and connected now as customers of theirs, why not then offer them tele-medicine services? Good bye customer! Call a traditional taxi owner about UBER and ask them how’s that going? Make no mistake about this, healthcare providers must take a proprietary approach to patient engagement. At stake are millions of dollars of revenue that you need to protect from ‘churn’ and from future poaching.

At ChartaCares we encounter these phenomena every day and our advice is always the same, adopt and deploy your own private labeled patient engagement application service. Keep your customers close to home. There are wolves out there.