Consumers Driving Healthcare Innovations

Everyone in the U.S complains about
healthcare’the rising costs of insurance premiums and co-pays, the lack of
innovation, the poor experience at doctor’s offices and hospitals, and price of
medications. 
The landscape of big healthcare is eroding
faster than the biggest players can adapt.
Thanks to malpractice, the internet, the
rise of specialists and decline of general practitioners, integration with
complementary and alternative medicine, and other factors’consumers feel as if
they must drive their own healthcare. 
Gone are the days when actions are blindly
followed, as in ‘the doctor told me to take this __________________ and do
__________________.’  Instead, internet research leads to
second-guessing and attempts at self-diagnoses. Both scenarios lead
to information anxiety. Too little and too much unfiltered information causes
this quiet despair. The emerging paradigm finds consumers lost,
bewildered, looking for sources and solutions that help make health care make
sense for them’and willing to switch to what works for them. 
This tension creates a gap of opportunity
for disruptive entrants into the market. With 2.8 trillion at play,
everyone will race to get their piece of the pie, from well-established
companies outside of healthcare, to service providers offering new models
of care, to start ups. Hopefully, healthcare companies will recognize
the need to transform their business model and their product and service mix, or
risk dying on the vine. 
A recently released study by
the Health Research Institute (HRI) called ‘Healthcare’s New
Entrants: Who will be the industry’s Amazon.com’ The threat to the
established players is made plain: ‘Revenue
will circulate differently, and to many new
players. Consumers, spending more of their own money, are exerting greater
influence and going beyond the traditional industry to find what they
want and need. In the New Health Economy, purchasers increasingly will reward
organizations providing the best value, whether it’s an academic medical
center, a tech company with a great app, or a healthcare shopping network.’ 
Traditional providers have not yet caught the
tide of change, nor have they figured out how to diversify their revenue steams.
A single innovation can put a huge dent in the market. For example, if half of
all U.S. patients opted to administer an
at-home strep test, it could hurt the traditional provider network as much
as $68 billion. This move would benefit consumers, the company that makes
the test, and the retailer, but is a seismic shift for doctor office
revenues. 
Huge players are scrambling to make
an impact: Walgreen’s, Google, Time Warner, Target, as well as an increasing
number of healthcare technology start ups. 
Who will win? The ones who listen to
consumers, as they are the driving force of the change. 
Michael Graber is the
managing partner of the Southern Growth Studio, an innovation and strategic
growth firm based in Memphis, TN. Visit www.southerngrowthstudio.com to
learn more.