Healthcare providers need broader understanding of their competition
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.