Examining the Impact of Retail and Big Tech in Healthcare — Through the Vendor Lens

November 10, 2022 | Stericycle Communication Solutions

In part two of the series on our recent webinar, Examining the Impact of Retail and Big Tech in Healthcare — Through the Vendor Lens, we’ll look at how healthcare systems can educate patients on navigating the care options available to them and help them to be confident in managing the care journey. Thought leaders Matt Dickson, senior vice president, product, strategy, and GM, Stericycle Communication Solutions, and Carrie Liken, head of industry, healthcare, Yext, will also identify future challenges vendors are likely to face as big tech and retail continue to disrupt the healthcare landscape.

Help Patients Manage the Healthcare Journey

In the same way that Google instills confidence in people who use it as a search tool, traditional health systems need to instill confidence in patients who use the system’s website and search tools to find the right provider and the right venue of care. Because Google delivers search results that are consistent, accurate, and virtually instantaneous, its users are confident — in many cases at a subconscious level – that they will always get virtually the same on-target results in subsequent visits to Google’s homepage.

If a patient has just one bad experience, for example, being directed to the dreaded “404 - Page Not Found” prompt or simply not being shown what they’re searching for, then their confidence in the process is undermined. When a patient’s trust is shaken by a negative online experience, it’s possible that they may never use a website’s search tool again or they may abandon the site altogether. By taking a cue from Google or retail sites like Amazon in which search results have a very high degree of relevancy, traditional health systems need to offer patients the best online experience possible in order to be competitive.

Educate Patients About Navigating the Care Options Available to Them

As traditional health systems battle to remain relevant in the increasingly competitive healthcare marketplace, they will need to develop strategies to educate patients on how to navigate digital health tools available to them. In the same way that retail giants create frictionless shopping experiences for consumers, health systems need to optimize customer service with platforms that deliver fast, easy-to-complete transactions. It’s also critical to promote these available tools – not only through marketing and advertising campaigns, but also by incentivizing providers and their staff to consistently refer patients to these resources.

Traditional players in healthcare who ignore the need to optimize the digital patient experience- and fail to direct patients to use the electronic resources available to them will do so at their own peril. The results in such cases include the possibility that patients will arrive ill-prepared for appointments, will be directed to the wrong venue of care, or perhaps will be sent to the wrong provider altogether. Retail giants like Amazon have been around long enough to know what consumers are looking for and, as such, the customer experience they deliver is most often frictionless.

The Next Three Years — Walled Gardens and Other Vendor Challenges

As vendors prepare for the future and the more critical phase of the pandemic continues to subside, organizations are shifting focus to consolidating platforms to enhance efficiency and simplify the digital patient experience. Consolidation efforts may include increased investment in headless e-commerce technology, which entails using solutions that store, manage, and deliver content without a front-end delivery layer. By implementing systems that enable information to flow more seamlessly within a platform, vendors will be able to better manage and build upon data over time.

By investing in nimble open platforms that maximize connectivity, vendors will have more flexibility to adapt their systems, remain competitive, and offer patients convenience of use. By shifting away from a walled garden approach — that is, protecting technology information and user data with little or no intention of sharing it — vendors can create accessible ecosystems and a more easily navigable healthcare journey to optimize the digital patient experience.

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