CannonDesign’s Abbie Clary, a director of our health practice, has authored an article in Becker’s Hospital Review titled “Consumerism — and why every community hospital should care about it.” The piece takes a deep dive into how the healthcare industry can approach consumerism and breaks the concept down into three key drivers — loyalty, information and experience.

The full article can be read online, and a key excerpt can be found below:

“Consumerism” is one of the hottest buzzwords in the healthcare industry right now, but also one of the most misunderstood. When most people hear the term, CVS, Walgreens and Wal-Mart often come to mind — retailers that have all invested in providing healthcare services either independently or through partnerships with providers. But these retail clinics alone do not define consumerism — they are a result of it. Consumerism is a strategy, not a place.

Healthcare consumerism is all about protecting and promoting the interests of the people who use healthcare services. It moves away from the industry’s business-to-business approach to healthcare and instead seeks to engage directly with consumers in deep and relevant ways. This business-to-consumer approach is largely being driven by other industries that have adopted similar strategies (retail, banking and travel, for example), and with companies like Amazon gearing up to enter the healthcare marketplace, healthcare organizations of all sizes need to catch up fast.

Consumer strategies have roots in social science, which looks at the way people live their lives and interact with the things around them. People from different cultures, generations, countries, belief systems and lifestyles all react, think and do a little bit differently, and understanding what makes these groups tick is essential to connecting with them as a service provider. When community hospitals have a deep understanding of the needs and values of their consumer populations, they can strategically and empathically connect with them and chart a path toward a mutually beneficial relationship.

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