As retailers and other non-traditional players continue to infiltrate the healthcare marketplace, the patient journey has begun to evolve in ways that were, until recently, unforeseen. This includes technology’s ever-increasing role in digitizing the relationship between patients and providers.
Our recent webinar, Embracing the Evolution of Modern Healthcare: Examining the Impact of Retail and Big Tech in Healthcare, explores the disruptions impacting conventional health journeys of the past. Read our two-part series that recaps the discussion. In Part 1, we’ll look at ways to market the advantages of a traditional healthcare system and the impact of non-traditional players in the healthcare space.
Marketing the Advantages of Traditional Over Retail Healthcare
One notable characteristic of the expanding marketplace is that the entry of retail healthcare and tech service providers is forcing traditional healthcare systems to reevaluate the way they serve patients to improve the services that they offer. And as the term “patient” becomes increasingly interchangeable with “consumer” healthcare systems have taken steps to replace bifurcated processes to create consumer journeys that are more connected, intuitive, and easily navigable. Traditional healthcare systems should focus on marketing campaigns that educate consumers about the tools available to them that offer the same convenience that they seek from retail and tech service providers. For example, NETFLIX provides customized suggestions on what to watch based on your individual interests, and Fitness wearables provide physical activity recommendations based on tracked lifestyle habits. Patients expect this same type of personalized communications from their providers.
Additionally, owing to reputation and experience, traditional players continue to benefit from embedded consumer behaviors and the trust that has been established with patients from the start of their healthcare journeys to the present. While many retail and tech players in healthcare offer services that cover episodic or urgent care circumstances, traditional providers can gain a competitive edge through messaging that emphasizes proven, longstanding excellence that consumers in their network are accustomed to. Another key factor to emphasize in marketing efforts is that traditional health systems also hold the advantage of being able to act as a connector between all the care providers that serve a particular patient, including primary care doctors, specialists, and diagnostics centers.
The Impact of Giant Retail on the Healthcare Landscape
The increasing presence of retail giants in the healthcare sector includes Amazon’s ambitious goal of establishing medical facilities in 20 major U.S. cities by the end of 2022. Other similar developments include the announcement last year by CVS that it is in the process of closing nearly 10 percent of its stores nationwide and turning many of those locations into healthcare service centers with offerings that include flu shots and diagnostic testing. Additionally, pharmacy giants Walgreens and Rite Aid have also recently invested billions of dollars to offer healthcare services in hundreds of locations.
One potential outcome of this influx of competition in the marketplace is that, in time, consumers may come to view non-traditional players in healthcare as a convenient option for care during infrequent circumstances but not consider them as reliable standards of care, especially in cases involving serious illness or chronic disease management. Additionally, as entities like Amazon gain traction in the healthcare space, the aggregated patient data those non-traditional players collect could be shared with traditional healthcare systems and, as such, broaden the options of care that are available to an individual.