Patients as Customers: Hospitals Play Catchup

October 3, 2019

Winners are betting on data-driven insights, personalized experiences, and relationships built on trust.

// By Lindsay R. Resnick //

Lindsay ResnickWith today’s constant stream of digital health tools, it’s never been easier or faster for customers to take charge. They’re following a path to care where they feel important and are treated well — and they’ll avoid hospitals that fall short.

As the health care industry undergoes historic transformation, consumers are quickly becoming empowered to take responsibility for their health care decisions. They manage benefit choices, budget out-of-pocket expenses, choose providers, and navigate sites-of-care. Patients find themselves front and center in their role as health care customers. Empowered patients compare prices, quality, convenience, and outcomes.

Inside the walls of most hospitals, the mention of “customer” when referring to patients still gets raised eyebrows. But the “retailization” of health care means patients are in control. They set expectations based on their best, most recent customer experience, inside and outside the health care ecosystem. This new era of self-sufficient, activist patients means that they scrutinize marketing messages, conduct their own research, and share their opinions.

In a consumer-empowered world, what can health systems do better to attract and retain patients? Resnick breaks it down to four consumer demands: Know me. Motivate me. Help me. Keep me.

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