Health­care providers need broader un­der­stand­ing of their com­pe­ti­tion

Modern Healthcare - - Comment -

Re­gard­ing the Oct. 29 fea­ture “Health sys­tems need to ramp up con­sumer re­search to im­prove the care ex­pe­ri­ence” (p. 26), this is a great ar­ti­cle, and timely, given the vast changes in the health­care mar­ket­place—which looks noth­ing like it did even five years ago.

As new play­ers from tech­nol­ogy and re­tail (who tend to have more of a con­sumer ori­en­ta­tion and a bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of their cus­tomers) have en­croached on the do­mains of tra­di­tional hospi­tals and health sys­tems, cus­tomer ex­pec­ta­tions have ex­panded be­yond health­care cat­e­gory bor­ders.

As con­sumerism takes root, legacy health­care providers must de­velop a more com­pre­hen­sive un­der­stand­ing of the pa­tients and com­mu­ni­ties they serve (as CVS, Ama­zon, Wal­greens, etc., al­ready do). Be­yond just clin­i­cal data, re­search is re­quired to re­veal a deeper un­der­stand­ing of pa­tients’ rou­tines, wishes and needs to help providers bet­ter en­gage and an­tic­i­pate their fu­ture health and health­care needs.

At the same time, providers’ tra­di­tional re­search lens needs to be broader. Health­care mar­ket­ing teams must look be­yond those they most di­rectly com­pete with to ex­pe­ri­en­tial com­peti­tors (who might re­place them) and per­cep­tual com­peti­tors (who are chang­ing cus­tomer ex­pec­ta­tions). This is the mind­set needed to make big gains.

Eric Brody



Mor­ris­town, N.J.

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