Consumers want convenient healthcare, not brand recognition

As healthcare becomes increasingly consumer-focused, the power of an organization's brand means less and less compared to convenience, according to MedCityNews.

Convenience drives consumer choices on healthcare, a fact that caused nontraditional players such as Walmart and Walgreens to enter the market and increase competition for hospitals, Wes Valdes, medical director of Healthcare Transformation Lab and Telehealth Services at Intermountain Healthcare said during the Institute for Health Technology Transformation conference in San Francisco, according to the article. 

The healthcare industry has long known it must become more patient-centered, Valdes said, but is a more urgent matter in a post-Affordable Care Act market that emphasizes patient engagement. Larger providers and systems' slow start adapting to these realities meant startups were able to get an early advantage. It's crucial that providers not fall into the trap of thinking their brand will do the work for them, he added. Time is of the essence, he said, for providers that want to avoid being left in the dust. Valdes cited Kaiser Permanente's partnership with Target in Southern California and Sutter Health's state-of-the-art call center as examples of organizations that understood the shift in patient thinking and acted accordingly.

"The partnership will be 'We'll take what we want and leave you with want we don't.' But the people who partner with [startups and retailers] will get the referrals," Valdes said. "The culture is going to change, but it's not going to be changed by healthcare systems."

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