This post is part of our “Driving Transformation” series, in which Mercer consultants share key take-aways for employers from the 2016 Oliver Wyman Health Innovation Summit, a recent conference hosted by Mercer’s sibling firm, management consultant Oliver Wyman.
The rise of the consumer has already caused a seismic shift in the strategic direction for most hospitals and health systems. These providers recognize the imperative to find new and different ways to demonstrate value across the care delivery continuum. This means focusing attention on what consumers of most products and services look for: cost, quality and an engaging and convenient experience. Integrated clinical and commercial strategies must be developed to successfully address each of these elements. With increased focus on improving population health and patient satisfaction, re-thinking how multi-generational consumers access healthcare providers will be critical to future success. There will be various patient-centric “front doors” to healthcare, including retail health, telemedicine, onsite clinics, digital health, care navigation and a re-invented doctor’s office experience.
To execute this transformation, hospitals and health systems must also evaluate the need for strategic partnerships along the way. These organizations have traditionally taken a “develop from within” approach to innovation and business development. Speed to market and immediate access to existing intellectual capital, on the other hand, may dictate the need for a different approach going forward. There will likely be bumps and missteps along the way. That said, organizations looking to differentiate themselves in the new consumer market must also be willing to step outside the box and take some level of risk.
The current healthcare ecosystem is large, complex and very fragmented. This is frustrating, inefficient and expensive for the consumer to navigate. Hospitals and health systems have a unique opportunity to change this dynamic and create new models that provide real value in the health market. Those organizations willing to embrace this challenge will likely be the industry leaders of tomorrow.
Employers have a role to play in hastening this healthcare transformation. Collectively, employers are the largest purchaser of healthcare in the country. They can make a difference by consistently demanding higher-value services and a laser-focus on the consumer experience – and by giving their business to the providers that are moving the fastest in the right direction.
How to start? Pay attention to what is going on locally – where you do business – with healthcare providers. Find out who is organizing, how are they changing and whether they are really changing in a meaningful way. Depending on how many locations your organization operates in, this could be a major undertaking. Lean on your health benefit partners and local colleagues to help.