The Consumer Journey From Healthcare To Health

Published on April 4, 2016

Attention, healthcare providers and payers. Healthcare consumers – your patients and members – are not fond of your industry.

Most consumers have minimal interaction with the healthcare system, and they are not interested in more. The US averages just 0.1 hospital discharges, and 3 encounters with a health care professional, per person per year. In the payer world, outside of the annual insurance enrollment cycle, most consumers have zero interactions with their health plan.

The traditional model of waiting until we are sick and then purchasing healthcare to make us better has its place, but is not aligned with the journey customers wish to take. In terms of interest level and frequency of interaction, hospitals and health insurance (“healthcare”) rank at the very bottom:

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Your customers are not interested in a diet of “healthcare”.

What is at the upper right of this chart? Fitness, Parenting, and at the top: “Health”. As consumers, we make hundreds of “health” decisions every day: do we take the stairs or elevator? Eat fruit or a donut? Put on that bike helmet or not? We are acutely aware of those frequent decisions and the impact they have on our lives.

Consumers want “Health” – they want to BE healthy, not simply be treated for an illness.

Unable to get the “Health” they want from the traditional healthcare system, consumers have gone around it. The shift to high deductible plans is holding down spending on traditional, reimbursable healthcare. As consumers take control of their spending, they are directing it in new ways, outside of traditional physician referral networks.

The market for Health is booming. Consumers spent nearly $1.5 trillion last year on health-related services, including nutrition, fitness, wellness, weight loss, vitamins & supplements, alternative therapies and more. Health is now nearly half as big as Healthcare ($3 trillion).

How can your organization better understand this customer journey – the needs of the consumer, the experience they crave? How can you meet your consumers where they are, with products and services they want to buy? How can you give them Health?

Start with understanding who your consumers are – as people, not as patients in your electronic medical records system. What are their interests? What are they searching for online? How do they behave and respond? This learning process is both qualitative and highly quantitative. Once you learn the answers to these questions, your organization will be well on the way to transforming into a consumer-centric healthcare provider – a provider of not just Healthcare, but Health.

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