“Retail has learned healthcare faster than healthcare has learned retail.” – Rob Klein, Founder & CEO, Klein & Partners.
There was a time when a hospital’s biggest competitive concern was the hospital down the street or the health system with several locations in and around its service area. But those days are long gone, now that retailers are getting into the provider space.
But as healthcare consumer demands have changed, new competitors have cropped up, especially in the areas of urgent care and on-demand care. The old competitive attributes of functionality and reliability have been replaced with fast, flexible and responsive. And, as noted by Rob Klein above, retail is “getting it” much faster than traditional healthcare.
How are the new and innovative providers meeting consumer demands?
- By ditching the bricks and mortar where possible. Granted, it’s difficult to provide inpatient care and even some outpatient care without a physical location, but there are opportunities for low overhead providers, such as Dispatch Health. This provider of virtual and in-home urgent care sends providers (physicians, physician’s assistants or nurse practitioners) to a consumer’s home after discussing the person’s symptoms on the phone. Dispatch Health has partnered with insurance and provider organizations. Currently located in 10 states, the company has plans to expand further across the US.
- By serving consumers where they are, when they want to be served. Traditional Monday-Friday 9:00 am-5:00 pm doctors’ hours no longer work for today’s consumers. Urgent care and immediate care clinics that are open later and on weekends suit consumers better, as do virtual visits that can be available 24/7.
- By offering economical options. 98point6 is a primary care provider organization that offers on-demand primary care delivered by board-certified physicians via the ease of a mobile app. This subscription service is available for $20 for the first year and $120 after that – the annual subscription covers unlimited visits.
Other examples of disruption and innovation in healthcare include the merger of CVS Healthcare and Aetna, and the healthcare venture announced a couple of years ago involving Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and J.P. Morgan.
New competitors, new business models - existing healthcare organizations have much to do to remain relevant and viable in today’s environment. What is your organization doing to compete in the new reality?