Using a Retail Approach to Health Care
In the past, healthcare was viewed as a service functioning on an ‘as needed’ basis. Providers once relied on the notion that individuals will seek medical care on an “as-needed” basis, and paid little thought to great service or exemplary standards. However, rising costs, alternative health care delivery models, and greater patient financial responsibility has transformed passive patients into empowered consumers.
As the need for convenient and affordable medical care has grown immensely, new access points and greater segmentation of various points of the health care system have grown. With rising health care costs and more options available, patients, like retail customers, are using their buying power to show support for emerging models of care – and providers must meet consumer demands in order to stay competitive.
Like any consumer driven business, the success of health care providers will rest in the hands of patients, thereby determining the future of the health industry. With patients as empowered consumers, individuals support providers who offer personal service, proven outcomes and affordable services. Just like those titans of the retail industry, it’s clear that an outstanding (patient) experience is just as important as the goods/services being provided.
In order to make a health care organization consumer-driven and patient-focused, segments like urgent care and primary care have adopted a new approach to be more consumer-centric, using a retail approach to a service that all will eventually consumer sooner or later. This approach includes greater curb appeal, more attractive environments, technology advancements, convenient locations and hours, and greater ease of use.
Market research is an important component to keep an accurate measurement of how these elements are being delivered. Just like retailers, healthcare providers are learning to evolve with patient concerns and adjust to current trends such as affordable treatments and effective wellness programs. Patients want to be confident in a healthcare provider who is keeping up with technological advancements, listening to their needs, and prepared to resolve swiftly any issues that may arise.
Whether retail, health care, or even data technology, all companies gain when an outstanding experience is at the forefront of the business model, and the rules of great service are the same:
- Create an environment where employees are empowered to meet the needs of the customer
- Focus on improving the quality of the service and the customer’s overall experience
- Utilize consumer research to measure expectations and outcomes
- Build a mission-driven culture that exceeds the customer’s expectations, and drives loyalty
Above all else, great service is the ultimate differentiator that determines the success or demise of a healthcare organization. It begins with the experience, the personalization of care, and how providers interact with their patients and customers.
The definition of a good business arrangement is one that meets the needs of all constituents. This is also the goal of retail and health care. A successful health care organization creates new and improved health care options for consumers, and does so in an environment of trust, warmth and respect.
Concentra uses a retail approach to healthcare because we listen to what the client needs, make adjustments based on these requirements, work to educate clients on ways to avoid and deal with injuries, and commit to outstanding service to our customers and patients. We continue to use feedback and tracking measurements to constantly improve our service, enhance our delivery and offerings, and evolve to meet the ongoing needs of our customers. It’s an approach that has worked for successful retailers for years, and one that drives our commitment to welcoming, respectful, and skillful care.