Consumers today have unprecedented power. And, until recently, the healthcare industry had little incentive to react to this newfound power. However, pressures from consumers to meet ever-rising expectations, primarily driven through experiences in other categories (think Amazon, Uber, Sephora, Nordstrom) and cost pressures from employers and governments, means that redefining how healthcare organizations interact with people is no longer a luxury. To this point, Prophet recently conducted in-depth interviews with more than 50 executives at health systems, payers, pharmaceutical companies and digital health companies around the globe to better understand how the healthcare industry can best evolve to better engage consumers.
Based on these conversations, Prophet identified several changes healthcare organizations have begun to make and published the report, “Making the Shift: Healthcare’s Transformation to Consumer-Centricity.”Everything from becoming more digital to learning how to be more empathetic to taking cues from companies in other industries to create world-class experiences. However, the overriding theme from the interviews, from CEOs to CMOs, was how critical culture is for organizations trying to make a consumer-oriented shift.
This is not new news to most industries, but to an industry where medicine, physicians, evidence-based decisions and protocol rule, worrying about developing a first-class, consumer-centered culture was not seen as a requirement to providing topnotch healthcare. That has changed. Forever.
Mayo Clinic has taken this ambition to heart. It has built and strengthened its organizational culture around a common mission of patient-centered care. Mayo Clinic President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. John Noseworthy said, “At Mayo Clinic, we put patients first – that is the foundation of our culture, it is in our DNA.”
In examining Mayo Clinic, it is clear how setting the powerful common purpose can create a self-propelling culture, where everyone is bought in and all decisions are informed by that purpose. As Dr. Noseworthy told us, “Every step we take, every tactical or strategic decision we make is based on what is in the best interest of the patient – and that is the only interest to be considered.”
When we talked to leaders at organizations like Geisinger, Intermountain Health, Eli Lilly and Company and Aetna, the drumbeat was the same. As Novant Health’s Chief Executive Officer Carl Armato put it, what enabled his organization’s shift toward consumer-centricity “was our ability to mobilize our employees around a common and clear vision. At Novant Health, we don’t look at the patient experience separately from the physician/team member experience; they are blended together. We need to create a remarkable experience for our patients and our team members.”
In both the Mayo Clinic and Novant Health examples, several ideas aimed at kick starting a consumer-centered culture surfaced that may help others launch their own efforts. These include:
Co-create a consumer-centered vision with employees that the entire company can stand behind. When employees are engaged in developing the vision, they are more invested in both the vision and bringing it to life. “It is critical that team members are a part of the development of the promise and vision; if you want them to live it and love it, then you have to create it with them,” said Mike Yost, VP of Marketing at IU Health.
Be bold, declarative and explicit about your consumer-centricity and cultural ambitions.When Dr. David Feinberg, MD, became Chief Executive Officer of Geisinger Health System, a regional health system in Pennsylvania, he set out to shift the organization from provider-centric to patient-centric. To take the first step, Geisinger launched ProvenExperience, a refund program under which consumers who are dissatisfied with the care they received can request a refund for their co-pay. Geisinger Health System’s Chief Informatics Officer Alistair Erskine told us, “Everyone talks about putting the patient first and that’s great, but to make it actually happen we needed to take a big step that would force us to change.”
Tie compensation to consumer-centric metrics.Anthem has tied 10% of all employees’ incentive plans to Net Promotor Scores. Doug Cottings, Staff Vice President at Market Strategy & Insight at Anthem, found that “once consumer satisfaction and promotion affected everyone’s bonus…everyone wanted to understand what actions each department can take to improve customer satisfaction.” Lasting cultural change requires that employees have a clear understanding of specific performance objectives, behaviors and metrics.
Look outside the category for inspiration. “Our aspiration is to be the first digitally-enabled, consumer-centric integrated delivery system in the U.S.,” said Dr. Marc Harrison, President and Chief Executive Officer at Intermountain Healthcare. “We’re taking cues from Amazon, fintechs, Starbucks, and the like. We are going to inject that holistically into a real digital transformation of an integrated health system to truly understand and serve people the way they want to be served.” Intermountain is widely regarded as having one of the most consumer-centric cultures in the category.
Healthcare will continue to change. Consumers will continue to get smarter and employees will continue to expect more from their employers, who will in turn expect more of the health care system. Those that remake their culture to enable them to keep up with this pace of change and recognize the benefits to better consumer engagement are ultimately the ones that will win, and become examples for others trying to figure out their own consumer-centric journey.