2014: The Year of the Health Care Consumer
Published: February 05, 2014
The new generation of health care is characterized by a greater focus on the patient.
The individual is at the center of our contemporary, tech-powered culture. A quick glance at the major social media outlets is proof enough of this trend: Facebook posts tend to be focused on personal experiences and updates, and even the more abbreviated format of Twitter has at its core the idea of an individual sharing his or her comments, insights or activities with others.
Businesses have begun to see the potential power of this model as a marketing tool, and the result is a much more customer-centric type of dialog between companies and the public. The health sector, too, is undergoing a similar change as it continues to adopt a number of new technologies, and the new generation of care is characterized by a greater focus on the patient.
Spotlight on the Health Care Consumer
Florida Blue CEO and Chairman Pat Geraghty recently spoke with Med City News about the movement toward personalization among care providers and suggested that, increasingly, the consumer is king in the medical field just as much as in private business.
"The big trend is toward consumerism, with the individual customer being the new focal point," Geraghty told the news source. "Previously, the system was built around the health care provider. The new system will revolve around the consumer."
There are a number of factors behind this development, Med City News pointed out. One of them is the increased prevalence of mobile devices in consumers' health care experiences, with apps providing them resources they can take advantage of from anywhere. Web-powered telehealth programs delivered via cloud computing that allow care to take place remotely also contribute.
Data is Key to Patient-Centric Decision Making
But personalization in health care is not simply a trend that organizations can expect to occur automatically. Rather, it requires hospitals and clinics to make a concerted effort to prioritize the patient and tailor their services to the individual.
In an interview with Forbes, Opera Solutions General Manager Peter Schouten noted that tech developments such as big data are driving improved decision-making processes among care providers.
"By feeding relevant information and insights to tablets, phones and laptops, administrators are empowering these front-line employees with the right information at the right time, allowing them to make better, more data-focused decisions," Schouten told the news source.
Data often proves key in making consumer-focused decisions, and medical-specific customer relationship management tools can help keep this information organized. CRM functionalities provide critical insights into patient experience and help physicians develop care strategies that are tailored to the needs of the individuals they treat.
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