By Kathy Roy Gaughran
Senior Marketing Strategist
It’s no secret that the healthcare industry is nothing like it used to be. Your patients are also consumers. They expect more from their doctors, health organizations, hospitals, and pharmaceuticals—and healthcare disruptors are taking action.
Some of the long-standing players in healthcare are quickly setting themselves apart as healthcare industry disruptors, as are new players in health and wellness and tech. They’re shaking up the industry to give healthcare consumers what they really need and want—and it’s working. Here’s what they have in common.
What Is a Healthcare Disruptor?
Healthcare disruptors are companies that are shifting the healthcare industry by making big changes that significantly redefine the way care is delivered. That means integrating new technologies, streamlining processes, and simply refusing to do things the way they’ve always been done.
The biggest disruptors in healthcare include names like CVS and Aetna, Amazon, and Apple. CVS acquired Aetna last year for $69 billion, vowing to shift the consumer healthcare experience and ensure people rely less on hospitals and emergency health services.
Amazon has partnered with Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan to create Haven, aimed at improving health care for its employees. And Apple has shaken up the healthcare industry with its Health app in many ways, including the ability to integrate its health information into EHRs.
But any innovator can be a healthcare disruptor. It takes a great idea and even better execution, but most healthcare disruptors do ALL of these:
1. Break existing norms
Healthcare disruptors are not content with the way things have always been. They believe it’s possible to reframe people’s mindsets and go beyond the status quo. They’re constantly questioning, asking themselves, “Do things really need to be this way?”
The people at Amazon questioned whether their employees really had to deal with a healthcare system that wasn’t working for all employees (and for the company). CVS questioned the idea that so many Americans put off healthcare until it’s too late. And many small-scale disruptors are breaking existing norms (locally) by offering things like telehealth and easier intake processes.
2. Shape our culture
There’s no doubt about it: Amazon has shaped our culture for good. Without Amazon, we probably wouldn’t be talking about healthcare consumerism at all. And recent partnerships and acquisitions (like virtual pharmacy PillPack in 2018) prove they have no plans of trying to change the way we think about healthcare.
Not every healthcare disruptor shapes our culture in such a drastic way. They simply rethink the way things have always been done—in a big way. For many healthcare disruptors, the biggest change they can hope to see will come when healthcare is a lot less confusing, costly, and frustrating for everyone.
3. Behave with authenticity
Healthcare disruptors may have big ideas about what needs to change, but innovation will always be a learning process. You cannot expect to add something new to the national healthcare conversation without a few hiccups. Transparency is key to showing patients, employees, consumers, etc. that you care about their health over all else.
Today’s consumers are searching for authenticity. One of the ways healthcare disruptors are shaking up the industry is with transparent pricing models and clear policies. New subscription models allow the consumer to know exactly what they are getting into before they invest their time into a new healthcare organization.
4. Engage people and leverage networks
The biggest healthcare disruptors know they cannot change the industry without making a few connections along the way. They partner with major companies, healthcare technologies, startups, up-and-coming organizations, and even independent doctors and hospitals. They make sure the right people are involved and engaged every step of the way.
5. Reinvent their business models
For the past several decades, most hospitals, practices, health systems, and health plans have run in a fairly consistent manner. And for the past several decades, the average person has had to deal with confusing processes, unexpected costs, and a limited number of services.
Healthcare disruptors know that there’s more than one way to run a business. Like Amazon, they believe that there is a way to make healthcare less confusing for everyone. Practices are learning from concierge medicine and direct primary care and trying out unconventional business models. Organizations are partnering with nutritionists, gyms, technology leaders, and more to create a new business of healthcare that takes into account a person’s total well-being.
6. Envision ongoing enhancements
Finally, healthcare disruptors envision a future where they can continue to grow and shift the industry. They imagine that, in the future, other healthcare leaders will take note and shift their own practices to meet the national standard. Even so, the disruptors are two steps ahead, constantly thinking about what people need with the development of new technology as well as changing healthcare conventions.
As healthcare continues to evolve, practices, hospitals, and organizations that shape and grow with the times are likely to benefit. Contact the team at Healthcare Success at 800-656-0907 to learn how your organization can keep up.