As consumerism takes an even stronger hold of the healthcare industry, it’s important to fully understand its causes and effects, and leverage design to forge deep bonds with patient populations. Holly Ragan, a member of CannonDesign’s executive leadership team, shares her thoughts on this topic in a new piece on D CEO Healthcare, a leading news site focused on the business of healthcare in North Texas. Holly’s article can be accessed here.

According to the article, when discussions about healthcare consumerism unfold, they often focus on retailers entering the healthcare market. “A Walmart and Humana merger will lead to more in-store clinics, a CVS and Aetna deal will strengthen CVS’s MinuteClinic model, and of course there’s Amazon, which recently acquired online pharmacy PillPack and named Dr. Atul Gawande CEO of its newly formed healthcare company,” says Holly. “But these deals do not define healthcare consumerism. They’re a result of it.”

Holly goes on to define consumerism as a strategy developed in response to changing human behavior.

“Overall, consumers, especially younger generations, are unhappy with the current healthcare model,” she says. “They want transparency, value, technology, convenience, and memorable experiences—the same stuff they receive when they interact with other business-to-consumer companies. They also want to partner with companies genuinely committed to protecting their rights and interests. In the context of healthcare, this means they want their providers to be less focused on transactions and more focused on creating deeply personal connections.”

Later in the piece, Holly introduces three design strategies that can help healthcare organizations enhance consumer centricity and drive profits: retail health, emotional branding, and designing for flexibility. Read more about each of these strategies here.

This is Holly’s second column for D CEO Healthcare. Her first column, titled “The Holly Grail of Healthcare: Patient Experience (And How Design Can Influence It),” delves into strategies for understanding the needs of patient populations and designing extraordinary experiences in response.

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