By now, much has been written about the recent Amazon acquisition of One Medical. The tech giant’s expansion into healthcare has sparked conversations around the impact on consumer expectations, along with the relatively new, one-stop-shop reality of healthcare delivery.
Although experts have been back-and-forth on what the acquisition could mean for the industry as a whole, executives responsible for health system revenue should be strongly considering their strategy when it comes not only to patient acquisition, but also retention and loyalty.
“The reality is, many direct-to-consumer options don’t want our complex, multi-problem patients—they want the low-hanging fruit,” said Dr. Brett Oliver, CMIO at Kentucky’s Baptist Health. “And what I often tell other healthcare executives is that you have to be careful with letting these competitors have that low-hanging fruit.”
When it comes to choosing a technology partner to improve patient experience and help you remain competitive, we understand the need for a solution that delivers tangible results, while also providing return on investment. According to Bright.md patient user analytics, 23 percent said if they didn’t have access to our platform through their health system, they would have found care outside of the system altogether.
What else is there to know about consumer behavior and the impact of competitors like Amazon? We rounded up four key observations as food for thought, as executives continue to push towards sustainable, hybrid modes of care delivery in an increasingly competitive environment.
1. Personalization and convenience reign supreme. Attention spans have shortened, expectations have risen, and consumers have an increasing amount of choices—in healthcare as well as many other verticals. “In today’s world, people expect to have options—especially for on-demand, ‘right now’ care,” said Scott Rogers, System Director, Performance Integration and Innovation at CoxHealth, a Bright.md partner in a recent webinar. “And people want to know, not only do I have options but when I choose an option, I want you to know me; ‘knowing me’ as a patient is an increasing expectation.”
Bright.md’s virtual care solution uses digital access points to help patients find, access, and receive care, while clinicians can treat patients from the platform asynchronously or triage them to the right level of care, whether that be video or in-person. Additionally, it enables your existing tech stack to work more productively for each patient encounter—asynchronously, in-person, or via video.
But before patients can be treated, they have to get through your digital front door. Our latest product, Navigate, directs patients to the right level of care the first time and directly from your website after sharing their symptoms. The best part? It typically takes patients less than one minute to be guided to care.
2. Access and health equity are non-negotiable. According to a recent report, the number of Americans in specific income tiers who have home broadband or a smartphone has not significantly changed from 2019 to 2021. In turn, a large number of Americans face challenges around care access, making it important to provide solutions that don’t require broadband, while also offering care and information in multiple languages, like Spanish.
We’ve designed our platform to address some of the key barriers to patient access, including transportation, language, tech, literacy, wait times, inclusivity, and costs. People in rural areas or who live far from a provider or urgent care center have an easy, on-demand option to start their care, creating value for your organization in the long run.
Additionally, according to one study conducted by the Annals of Internal Medicine, it costs about $150 to be treated for three of the most common illnesses in an urgent care setting–a sore throat, urinary tract infection, or ear infection. For patients, Bright.md customers charge between $0 and $40 per visit. Patients receive care for these and other complaints without an expensive trip to the ER while health systems gain significant cost savings.
3. Retention of your existing staff should be taken seriously. When considering Bright.md, Dr. Oliver and his team needed to solve another major challenge they and many others currently face—provider efficiency. With staff shortages and burnout a continuous reality for many practicing physicians, finding solutions that help—not hinder—clinician workflows tends to be easier said than done.
“Far too many digital tools have disregarded interoperability and integration with EHRs and have actually added to the administrative burdens and unnecessary work that frustrate providers,” he said. “And [these tools] essentially keeps them from practicing at the top of their license while building relationships with patients.”
Strategies to tackle burnout’s impact on your bottom line
The Bright.md platform increases the capacity of your existing clinical teams, empowering providers with digital tools integrated within your EHR that eliminate administrative work—giving them more time to spend with patients with more complex needs. We do this by automating chart notes, after-visit summaries, treatment plans, prescriptions, and more, along with clinical intake and pre-visit interviews. As a result, providers can treat hundreds of low-acuity conditions in less than four minutes on average, from anywhere.
“That is significantly less than what we’ve seen with other virtual care platforms, and such a drastic reduction in time our providers are spending on things like ear infections or UTIs,” said Dr. Oliver. “Meaning, they can spend more time with patients who need that face-to-face care. It also means providers don’t have to spend as much time in Epic because Bright.md automates much of the documentation, billing and prescribing, and it’s integrated into their existing workflows.”
4. Strategies for capturing downstream revenue are critical. A recent Bright.md survey showed three out of every five consumers would bypass local health systems for care and instead turn to online options, apps, or clinics. However, when done right, asynchronous telehealth ultimately drives patient volumes and retention. With our solution, every part of a patient’s care journey is designed with them in mind, leading to happy consumers who opt to use the technology again—and who are more likely to come back to your health system for other care needs.
“When Baptist was considering how to drive efficiencies and meet changing patient expectations to keep them coming back for all of their care needs, [Bright.md] exceeded expectations in terms of configurability, ease of use and the breadth of conditions covered,” said Dr. Oliver.
The writing is on the wall—for common conditions, patients value convenience and ease-of-use over brand. Don’t lose your patients to direct-to-consumer apps and retail outlets, forfeiting your built-in opportunity to provide long-term and expert care. Bright.md’s asynchronous care solution enhances your existing care delivery through integrations into your existing workflows for near-term, top-line growth that’s sustainable for the long haul.