Digital Innovation & the First Mover Advantage for Health Systems

“It’s no secret that healthcare has long lagged other industries when it comes to the adoption of digital technology,” wrote Kyruus CEO Graham Gardner in a recent essay. However, he warned, “healthcare industry trends—particularly the rise of consumerism—are driving a clear urgency around digital competence.”

Hospitals and health systems know about this urgency; yet, less than 25 percent of these organizations have strong capabilities to do so. But since consumers are used to being able to access robust information and online, self-service capabilities, they are demanding that health providers offer the same level of access and consumer experience. To prove this point, Gardner pointed to a 2017 survey of 1,000 healthcare consumers, who stated that appointment availability was among the top three most important criteria in provider selection, behind only insurance accepted and clinical expertise. These consumers even said they would switch providers if they could have convenient access to easy appointment booking services and timely access to care.

The ability to schedule online is an important factor in provider selection, particularly for younger generations, with 40 percent of millennials preferring to book online. What’s more, 60 percent of millennials say they’d charge for that convenience.

Despite consumer demand for these services, only 20 percent of organizations had fully implemented online scheduling. This high-demand, low-supply scenario, Gardner said, creates a unique opportunity for healthcare providers, especially those in competitive markets, to differentiate themselves by offering digital experiences and self-service capabilities to consumers. In doing so, health systems can build loyalty and engage their customers

“The health systems that are first in the market to offer modern online experiences will stand out from the growing crowd of care options and pave the way to substantial growth. These organizations have the potential to serve that consumer for decades—with the ability to access information and book online as a key factor for preventing them from looking elsewhere for care,” Gardner concluded.

Read the full essay in HIT Consultant.

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