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Should Medical Groups Think More Like Retail Outlet Malls?

In this new world of a consumerism, the health industry is on the hook for going retail.

To effectively complete in this new consumer-centric world, healthcare organizations such as medical groups and hospitals must focus on customer service, quality and price transparency . That means providing patients with high-quality care at competitive prices. 

healthcare retail modelSo what is the retail model

Think of the a brick-and-mortar outlet store, where it’s the cashier’s job to ensure the sale of a product. The storefront (a.k.a the brand), along with online marketing and advertising, bring in the customer.

Now imagine your medical group or hospital as a retail store. The physician is your storefront, as they generally attract a patient to a particular physician group or hospital. However, its the overall interactions and experiences with your group or hospital that ensure the sale, or the care that is being delivered (a.k.a. the product).

For example, your appointment scheduler utilizes patient information found in your healthcare CRM to personalize his or her interactions with a patient. Using all the information found on previous referrals, locations choosen or a patient’s preference for appointments allows for a more holistic patient experience.

The idea here is that in a retail world, it is important to connect the dots from multiple patient experiences that occur over time to create a more personalized and unified patient experience. Developing a complete picture of a patient’s journey allows healthcare organizations to provide patient-centric care and drive patient engagement – at the right time, at the right place. All of these touch points should be aligned to build trust, loyalty and long-term relationships.

Changing patient expectations & technology

It’s no secret that today’s healthcare consumer is more educated and involved in their care then ever before. These consumers need help in their journey to educate themselves and make better health decisions.  Patient education information on your website, monitoring tools and ongoing communication with their care team are all needed. Developing and expanding these solutions allow healthcare organizations to better meet the “anywhere, anytime” mentality of consumers. These can include:

  • Engaging patients through ongoing education and personalized outreach in a variety of ways
  • Delivering healthcare in convenient locations
  • Accessing information when and where needed
  • Providing real-time access to patient charts, results, appointment scheduling and more

Patients are looking for brand name healthcare at factory outlet prices

With the prevalence of high-deductible health plans and rising deductibles, more and more patients are retail shopping for their healthcare services. To attract these high-deductible patients, medical practices and hospitals need to be fully transparent with their pricing by:

  • Posting pricing for services and procedures on their website. This allows patients to shop.
  • Developing a financing center on your website to inform patients of billing and financial policies, financing alternatives, online bill pay and more.
  • Adding patient satisfaction survey results, patient feedback or a quality scorecard to your website. By doing so, patients can better evaluate the value of the care that they are increasingly paying out-of-pocket for.

As in retail, price sensitivity will continue to drive purchasing behavior.

Practis is here to help. Contact us to start your journey.