4 Keys to Elevate Consumer Centricity
Becoming more consumer-centric is a high priority for health care leaders. Making the right changes to achieve this objective is another matter. It can be extremely complicated, as many business sector leaders can attest.
Beyond reimagining health care through a consumer lens, it’s important to research what will move the needle on issues like patient loyalty, trust and satisfaction, notes a recent McKinsey & Company report.
Recognize Patient Pain Points
Not only are consumers’ health care experiences widely divergent, but they also attach different levels of importance and satisfaction to the steps they take along their care journey. Such simple steps as obtaining insurance coverage — whether through commercial or government plans — can generate vastly different consumer perceptions of importance and satisfaction.
McKinsey research indicates that consumers pinpoint four experiences that are highly important yet deeply unsatisfying:
The Care Deferral Factor
Interestingly, all these steps take place either before or after consumers receive care. Yet, these and other steps impact consumers’ decisions about whether to seek care. A 2021 McKinsey survey found that nearly 25% of U.S. consumers deferred care for a variety of reasons.
Some populations, including the middle-aged, immigrants, urban residents, households with children and those dissatisfied with their primary care doctors, were more likely to defer care. Not surprisingly, putting off care can have a negative effect on consumers’ health. Those who reported deferring care were more likely than care-seeking peers to suffer from existing health issues or mental health challenges, with about 80% having chronic conditions, a 2022 McKinsey Consumer Health Insights report noted.
Other downstream effects can follow. Consumers who defer care can substantially impact emergency departments and urgent care facilities. These locations tend to have lower patient experience scores compared with those of other sites of care, including up to 10 percentage points lower when compared with primary care, the 2022 report states.
Addressing consumer pain points can unlock better outcomes, the authors say. Satisfied consumers report deferring care 10 percentage points less, getting routine care 14 percentage points more and using inpatient care 13 percentage points less than unsatisfied consumers, 2021 McKinsey provider and payer surveys show.
4 Ways to Reimagine the Care Journey
Some innovators already are making progress on the following issues as they seek to understand consumer pain points, address them at scale and communicate directly with consumers about proposed solutions.
1 | Know Your Consumers
Consumers want help receiving the care they need from providers they trust. The specifics can vary widely by consumer segment, but certain design pillars can be a foundation on which to build and satisfy these needs. These include providing access to convenient, affordable and equitable care; transparently sharing information; and providing incentives that support consumers’ active and ongoing engagement in their health.
2 | Focus on Wellness
Easily accessible wellness programs, in which patients are connected to a personal health coach, can engage consumers early and often in their care journey and reduce the chances of future surgical or emergency care interventions.
3 | Personalize the Patient Experience
Patients regularly point to consumer-focused companies in other sectors as examples of what they expect health care to offer — personalized health care services, value-based pricing and an elevated experience.
4 | Disrupt Internally
Don’t wait for others to define solutions. Organizations need to make necessary changes based on research and an understanding of the specific needs and consumer segmentation. Use iterative test-and-learn design thinking to quickly identify and act on opportunities to meet consumer expectations.