Soon, they will provide a full “customer experience.” Like Ritz-Carlton and others, these clinics will record and maintain preferences, using that data to aid customers in choosing other products and services.
Meanwhile, smartphones and other mobile applications are being leveraged in other sectors more quickly than in healthcare. Smartphone sales are expected to reach 1.5 billion units globally by 2016. The technology is exploding just as the Affordable Care Act kicks in. What will the proliferation of smartphones—as well as personal health-tracking devices—mean for healthcare consumers? One example is better and easier access to individual medical records, similar to mobile access to bank account statements and personal buying histories at Amazon.
Electronically available health records are welcomed by doctors and patients alike. A Black Book Rankings physician survey found that 83% would use mobile EHR apps when more options are offered. In California, Kaiser Permanente has an app offering its 9 million members access to the provider's EHR system. Kaiser members also can use apps to make appointments, renew prescriptions and more.
With price-shopping, tech-savvy consumers on the verge of redefining healthcare, providers and insurers need to embrace the consumer revolution.
The reason healthcare has lagged behind other sectors in the retail movement is understandable: Personalizing care is harder than personalizing food preferences or bank accounts. The industry has more regulations and more channels, not to mention Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act laws. But the organizations that adopt retailification will have the patients/consumers who truly benefit most.
Ron Wince is president and general manager of Peppers & Rogers Group, a Stamford, Conn.-based management consulting firm specializing in consumer-based business strategies.