Healthcare Consumer Data: Barrier or Breakthrough?

Healthcare Consumer Data: Barrier or Breakthrough?

Healthcare Consumer Data: Barrier or Breakthrough?

It is a bit ironic that healthcare has become so fragmented, given that the root word of ‘health’ (“hal” in Old English) also means ‘whole.’ We have an opportunity to use customer data to make healthcare whole as originally intended – to interact with consumers, patients and members in a way that is much more personalized and engaging. This can be done in a manner that not only improves outcomes and patient satisfaction, but also drives more efficiencies for both payers and providers. For payers, there is an opportunity to create a personalized and branded connection with consumers, which is increasingly important given the greater number of choices in the marketplace. For providers, there are new opportunities to combine traditional data with wearable and medical device data, and leverage that data with analytics and orchestrated interactions to help individuals lead healthier lives with better outcomes.

Many industries are on a path to delivering these types of benefits through highly personalized engagement with consumers, yet the healthcare industry is lagging behind. Are the privacy issues with highly sensitive patient information a barrier to progress? Or is a broader view of consumer data exactly what is needed to break through the often conflicting goals of better outcomes at lower costs? When leveraged correctly, data is the key to delivering the type of personalized engagement that today’s healthcare consumers are demanding. Other industries have found paths to value with personalized engagement, particularly market leaders in retail, consumer packaged goods (CPG), travel and hospitality, automotive and media as recognized by Gartner research.

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Healthcare shares similarities with these industries in that consumers are increasingly driving the engagement, and digital interaction channels have fundamentally changed how they can engage. This digital transformation and rising consumerism places pressure on industry participants to create highly personalized and engaging experiences. Given the right context and the right value delivered, consumers want personalized engagement from healthcare organizations, with rising expectations fueled by other consumer-oriented businesses such as Amazon, Netflix, Uber and their local bank that have increased engagement through mobile applications. There are, however, three key differences from most industries:

There are a series of steps that today’s healthcare organizations can take to get past these barriers, leveraging innovations pioneered by more traditionally consumer-friendly industries. The value is apparent, as research by Oliver Wyman noted, that more personalized health and wellness can deliver up to 40 percent better value and a 100 times improvement in the consumer experience, with some of these shifts already happening in the market.

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Whether you want to drive analytics initiatives to make better decisions, or drive more personalized engagement, you need data as a raw material and the more data the better. Some of this will include big data in the form of social media data, interaction data and potentially device data. Healthcare has restrictions on data and healthcare consumers are also different in that many times they have chronic conditions that require them to manage their own care, which is 99.9% of the time outside of any one doctor’s office. It is because of this that they are often willing to opt in to programs that provide data for value in return, e.g. information and advice to better manage their own health.

There are parallel data restrictions in financial services, particularly the restrictions on the use of credit information for marketing purposes. Banks have created value for consumers even with these restrictions through either 1.) using third-party consumer data that is not restricted, or 2.) making a firm offer of credit to consumers when using credit data, i.e. delivering value to the consumers in concert with the use of data.

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