How Retail-Thinking Strategies Can Engage Patients

How Retail-Thinking Strategies Can Engage Patients

Today’s typical healthcare delivery model is designed primarily to meet acute demand. But the ruse of chronic diseases and lifestyle-related issues has rendered this approach insufficient. Consumers are demanding wellness-focused models; this need is likely to increase in the future.

A maintenance-based approach, coupled with evolving consumer expectations is forcing the ‘retailization’ of healthcare. This can mean everything from on-demand access to fully transparent pricing, but always incorporates a seamless user experience.


As familiarity with consumer-focused services increases, users will expect their healthcare options to keep pace.

Here’s what that means for you:

  1. Brand is King
    Your values and mission must be present in every way that you interact with consumers. Every touchpoint must reinforce the brand message, and every experience (digital or virtual) should be interactive, personalized and seamless across all platforms.
  2. Make the Ordinary Extraordinary
    Re-envision mundane interactions as opportunities for connection so you can build the foundation of exceptional user experience.
  3. Choreograph the Experience
    Consider the sequencing of every interaction. In the facility this means navigation and wayfinding; when online it means being universally clear, easy-to-use and highly-personalized.
  4. Build Community
    Expand and support the needs of your community in a myriad of ways. Participating in/being present at healthcare adjacent events (such as farmers' markets) allows you to connect with other well-established brands and attract new clients.
  5. Encourage a Linger-and-Stay Mentality
    Activities and amenities that are attractive to users can encourage them to stay in your space, thus creating more opportunities for meaningful and productive connections. Health-related activities can also encourage users to embrace health as something to be maintained, not simply 'dealt with.'
  6. Be Authentic
    Build your brand affinity and create a stronger connection with your patients through the art of storytelling. Make patients feel they are a part of your social commitment.
  7. Reinvent to Remain Relevant
    Companies must continually reinvent to keep customers interested and curious. Sponsoring or facilitating demonstrations and guest speakers are great ways to connect with patients in a way that is valuable and ever-changing. If they benefit, they'll come back for more.
  8. Inspire
    Inspiration is personal. People make conscious decisions to align with the brands that reflect who they themselves want to be. For healthcare organizations, this means understanding patients and reflecting their needs, both in the short and long-term.
  9. Keep the Conversation Going
    Continuous interaction is critical to influence people's choice — it's what managing lifestyle-based diseases is all about. Create genuine reasons for patients to engage across platforms and overtime to keep patients satisfied and healthy.

This evolution will require organizations to take into account the opinions and needs of Millennials. Not only are they the largest generation in U.S. history, but they're also 'alpha-influencers' who believe in sharing their experiences. Where Millennials go, others will follow.

This influence is most apparent in the changing definition of health (from an issue of acute attention to one of chronic maintenance). This will have major implications for the future of healthcare practice and delivery. Additionally, Millennials expect to play an active role in their own care; they demand transparency, value, quality, convenience and engagement in their experiences. When their baseline expectations aren't met, they look for alternatives or demand change.

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