Why All Hospitals Are Also Digital Companies

February 21, 2014
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patient consumers

patient consumers

The web has changed the way the world does business. You don’t have to look farther than 2013′s holiday shopping season, where 10% more shoppers bought online, 14% percent less people visited stores, and even Amazon delivery partners were overwhelmed with unexpected demand for last minute shipping. Consumers spoke with their wallets and showed that convenience was king.

Aaron Shapiro, CEO of Huge, spoke at a recent marketing and tech conference and said that digital has become a “mainstay of American business” with some great stats to back him up:

  • Pizza Hut sells $5.5 billion worth of pizza, of which $2 billion is from online sales.
  • Digital viewing exceeded TV for the first time in 2013.
  • 52% of the world’s population doesn’t remember a pre-internet world.

Much of the healthcare world seems to think these same consumer forces don’t apply to them, but I argue that all patients are also consumers. Hospitals are no exception to the new rule that “everyone is in the technology business.”

Ten years ago the banking industry faced the conundrum of resistance to online banking with adoption rates of 10-15%. Now Pew is reporting that more than half of U.S. adults bank online.

Today hospitals are concerned about getting even 5% of their patients to engage with their medical records digitally. But the experience consumers and service providers have garnered with web-based engagement (including pizza ordering, holiday shopping, and banking) should help make the transition for healthcare easier and faster than those industries that set the stage before them.

In seeking to get patients to interact digitally, Ian Worden writes that healthcare organizations should “explore opportunities to make care more convenient.” Using examples of his quest for a prescription during the annual allergy season and his wife’s telephonic doctor visits, he shows how many busy patients would choose to interact digitally with their providers if given a choice.

People order pizza online so they don’t have to use the phone, and the computer remembers their favorite items. People use online banking so they don’t have to make an extra car trip and stand in line waiting for a teller.

Where can you save your patients (and staff) time on the phone and bypass unneeded visits? Those are the perfect points in your care processes to start looking for healthcare IT solutions. Your patients seeking convenience and digital options will thank you.

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