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Product Strategy

Digital Health 2020: 4 factors that will drive customer engagement

Nisha Gopinath Menon
January 24, 2020

In most other industries, the move to digital has been well underway, building an expectation of a consumer experience in which healthcare has fallen behind. Today's competition, after all, is every other experience your customer has had. And consumers have been showing an increased appetite for digital health. Each year, more consumers are using self-service digital health tools. Since 2014, the use of wearables is more than thrice what it was. And consumer interest is surpassing what providers have to offer when it comes to artificial intelligence and robotics in the health tech space. More consumers today are ok with sharing their wearable device data with their healthcare professionals.

This goes to show that healthcare leaders now have great potential to apply emerging technologies to create more meaningful relationships with their users, but there are choices to be made on that journey. Getting the healthcare consumer experience right means greater alignment with what users expect from other industries. Customers will demand even more access to patient-centric and personalized care and will look to healthcare options that are cost transparent and convenient. This is causing healthcare to shift toward a value-based model. This model will bring together the following qualities healthcare consumers increasingly demand and expect.

1. The role of personalization

Personalization means different things to different users, but the bottom line is clear, the customer must feel heard. You are headed in the right direction if you're working towards providing them a one-on-one experience. Delivering to that customer what they want, how and when they want it, through offline or online channels, that is a personalized experience.

Now how can a legacy healthcare company compete with the likes of Google and Amazon when it comes to delivering personalized experiences? The answer lies in consumer data. Personalizing a consumer experience comes down to delivering based on what you already know about your customer. Do you know where they live? What pain point are they trying to address? What drives their decision making? Do you know what they have historically looked for? If you monitor their digital behaviors, you'll have all the answers. These are data points that will allow you to create a full profile of every user and deliver an experience that feels and looks uniquely tailored to their needs.

This can sound quite tricky for healthcare companies bound by privacy laws and strict regulations. On the playing ground of consumer personalization, to compete, legacy healthcare firms will have to venture past their regulatory comfort zones and collect as much audience segment and anonymized behavior data they can after getting permission from the customer to manage their data to tailor experiences for them. While working with Mahindra's Nightingales home health services, we saw the power of personalization and how it drove adoption. Digital authentication and permission will prove to be the gateway where personalized healthcare experiences are concerned.

2. The importance of convenience

At the heart of personalization is convenience. If all your data and personalization features are complicated and hard to use, you've failed. You shouldn't have to give long tutorials on how to use your service. It should come instinctively. Convenience also means that you get what you're looking for fast and without having to jump through too many hoops. In the ride-sharing industry, users know that with a tap of a button, without having to contact a helpline or reservation desk and being put on hold, they can hail a ride.

Healthcare users have come to expect similar access to care. They want the ability to know where they can go for fast treatment in a minor emergency by pulling up anticipated wait times at local clinics on a phone or web browser and the ability to consult with a doctor without leaving home.

We've built HIPAA compliant telehealth platforms like Nova Telehealth that provide a user experience that's loved by patients of all ages. By removing friction from every step of the process, telemedicine solutions like Nova are changing how healthcare is delivered.

3. The need for transparency

Health tech companies are increasingly using the power of intelligent technologies to deliver efficient, informed, and personalized care. However, such innovation comes responsibility. For people to be able to reap the complete benefits of digitally enabled healthcare services, providers must prioritize responsibility and trust.

Healthcare users want to know the price of their care, treatments and prescriptions, before getting it. To eliminate or mitigate sticker shock, are you making clear the costs across different channels? Are care options explained in easy-to-understand language? Are you doing enough when it comes to patient education?

4. Holistic Service

Our work with healthcare data while working with DailyRounds and Klinify has taught us that healthcare users want providers using data in a manner that is prescriptive, not merely predictive. They expect a relationship that is not just visit-to-visit but two-way.

Customer behavior is finely modeled in the e-commerce industry through careful analysis of search activities and purchasing patterns. Then a protocol is established based on recommends services and items. It's nice to be reminded to order laundry detergent at the month-end. Are you also offering ongoing, intelligent care to your consumers before, during, and after a visit? Are you basing that care on a patient's specific health status, socioeconomic situation, and history?

With more personalized service and a proactive approach to customer engagement, many healthcare companies are already seeing wins. Consistently employing all four of the above qualities will help providers build an ecosystem where patients become users for life. Consumer pressure is accelerating value-based care and global reformation. Why don't you take a quick look at how technology is improving healthcare in real, tangible ways and our role in it. Now, if you're looking for a partner in your digital health journey, don't hesitate to get in touch.

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Nisha Gopinath Menon