True customer centricity still a ways off: Prophet study
Healthcare providers, payers, and pharma companies are not making significant strides toward consumer centricity despite increasing demands and competition for healthcare dollars, according to new research by the global brand and marketing consultancy Prophet. Further, researchers uncovered three strong opportunities for improvement across each sector: partnering with digital, bringing in external perspective and measuring what matters.
“Consumers want to be treated as powerful participants in their own health,” says Jeff Gourdji, partner at Prophet. “Increasingly healthcare organizations’ own bottom lines require meeting consumers halfway or more. So, it is increasingly in everyone’s best interests to make sure consumers are empowered, engaged, equipped and enabled so they become what we call the ‘e-consumer.’”
According to Prophet analysts, consumer centricity is required to win in today’s era of active consumers. Consolidating health systems and commoditized plans and medicines mean greater consumer engagement is required so that consumers select their system, their plan, and their drug. Additionally, funders of healthcare are demanding greater value of systems and drug manufacturers, requiring consumer centricity to get consumers to change their behavior and, in turn, drive down healthcare costs.
Winning that empowered, engaged, equipped, and enabled consumer has become more critical at a time when healthcare consumers are demanding more from providers in response to rising costs; when consumers need to play a more active role in personal health management; and when startups are finding more agile ways to meet the needs of this increasingly educated and proactive group of consumers.
Analyzing the data and commentary for key themes, Prophet’s researchers uncovered five shifts that organizations must prioritize to reshape into more consumer-centric businesses:
1. Moving from tactical fixes to a holistic experience strategy
2. Moving from fragmented care to connected ecosystems
3. Moving from population-centric to person-centered
4. Moving from incremental improvements to extensive innovation
5. Moving from insights as a department to a culture of consumer obsession
Across the healthcare industry, researchers did not find a notable amount of progress on any of the five shifts. The most advancement appears to be on shift five, moving from insights as a function to a consumer-captivated culture.
“Particularly in the U.S., many healthcare companies are feeling squeezed by new value-based metrics and by pushes from financiers of healthcare – such as governments and employers – toward a more cost-efficient consumer system,” says Prophet Chief Growth Officer Scott Davis. “Yet adaption to the consumer is stunted and digital naïveté is pervasive.”
Pharmaceutical companies surveyed report the most progress moving toward consumer obsession – or empathy for what is important in their customers’ whole lives – but still lag significantly when it comes to developing holistic strategies spanning the entire healthcare journey and expanding beyond purchase and administration of their products.
Payers have also made some progress on the consumer obsession front, using available data from wearable technology, claims and clinical forms to analyze and distribute data across the business. However, this segment of the industry struggles with the challenge of fundamentally changing the relationship with consumers from transaction manager to personalized health partner.
Providers have made some advancements in translating data into insights. Where they struggle most is moving from tactical fixes within the confines of a doctor’s office to a healthcare journey spanning periods of wellness and illness.
Additional research highlights include:
• The industry is hesitant to partner with digital health companies. Fewer than 10 percent of all healthcare organizations say they are “most willing” to partner with digital companies. And only 21 percent of respondents believe that “practical and important innovation is coming from digital startups” compared to over 50 percent of respondents who believe this innovation is coming from providers and medical device companies. Yet such partnerships can enable traditional organizations to quickly gain exposure to innovative, agile and consumer-centric mindsets.
• Only slightly more than one-quarter (27 percent) of surveyed companies measure relationship metrics such as Net Promoter Score despite evidence that consumer metrics are critical to driving a commitment to consumer centricity.
• Diversity of thought can bolster differentiation, and healthcare organizations can benefit from bringing in outside leadership from consumer-centric industries such as hospitality and retail. Yet only 15 percent of respondents reported a willingness to consider adding leadership from outside the industry, even when those leaders would be supported by a healthcare-savvy team.