Consumer Insights Healthcare

Prioritizing the Consumer Experience in Healthcare

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Stephanie Douglass

Sr. Director, Marketing and Operations

In MDRG’s 2022 "State of Healthcare Experience" report, we identified the three key strategies healthcare entities need to implement to create a successful customer experience. In this post, we are going to talk about Prioritizing the Consumer Experience. 

When thinking about consumer experience, Ochsner Health’s Jennifer Bollinger puts it succinctly saying, “the consumer’s best experience anywhere becomes the expectation everywhere”. She’s right. Experience matters as much if not more than the product or service. Brands like Uber and Instacart changed the standards for access and drive a mindset of instant gratification.   


Disruptors have a few advantages because of this consumerism shift. 

1. They were started to “fix” a single pain point 

They don’t have decades of history of “this is how it’s done” to overcome. In fact, they typically start from the point of, “how it’s done is broken.” In our interviews, many of the disruptor origin stories began with a single personal challenge with the healthcare system. Focusing on one thing allows more attention to the consumer experience around that small piece of the healthcare ecosystem.

2. From inception, the consumer IS the priority 

These organizations were started to improve the healthcare system, but they were also created to make money. Many venture capitalist firms use engagement and adoption metrics to decide on funding. This puts the user experience at the front and center. One CEO put it bluntly: “Consumers don’t use, we don’t get paid.” They are incentivized by consumers using their product – and they understand that the harder it is to use, the lower the rate of adoption and revenue. 


One common thread about disruptors is how they started. Most start with a story, a personal experience of something that didn’t work and an ambition to make it better. The consumer is literally in their DNA. They also start with little funding, or, if they have funding, they have large goals to meet for investors, meaning – per this quote – If consumers don’t use we don’t get paid. They are incentivized and motivated by consumers using their product – and they understand that the harder to use, the lower the rate of adoption and revenue. 


Traditional healthcare providers have come a long way 

Healthcare success metrics historically center on outcomes and quality of care. But providers are starting to recognize the impact of every piece of the patients interaction with the brand and are beginning to change the way they think. 

"My experience with booking travel, or a restaurant reservation have been made easier, more autonomous, frictionless for me. Those are the expectations… so we want to look outside and better understand what are they doing.”  

– Chief Strategy Officer, System 

“Folks don't have a lot of patience for brands to not meet their needs anymore.” 

-Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, System  

How are providers successfully prioritizing the consumer? 

Part of how customer experience departments are communicating a consumer-centric point of view throughout the organization is through the customer journey. Elevating the journey allows alignment of organizational priorities with CX priorities. Identifying pain points of the consumer within that journey and creating plans f action and priorities based on those points of friction was easier to communicate using the journey framework. 


Healthcare providers understand that customer experience means: 

1. Putting the patient at the center
  • Connecting the full journey with seamless transitions 
  • Enriching with technology 
  • Creating uplifting moments 
 2. Having a CX team to represent the consumer within the organization
  • Bringing traditionally siloed departments together to reduce patient friction 

The future is bright for healthcare. The leading systems that embrace the entire consumer journey are paving the way for the industry to evaluate the friction-ful journeys and create more seamless experiences that consumers expect. 


Click here to download MDRG’s 2022 State of Healthcare Experience report.

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