MedCity Influencers

Empowerment: Why healthcare should equal transparency

  Healthcare, pharmaceutical and insurance companies can solve the needs of consumers by drawing inspiration from some of the most innovative companies in the world, both in and out of the healthcare industry. In this series, we will look at brands that understand the deeper needs and pain points of their consumers—beyond the functional and […]

 

Healthcare, pharmaceutical and insurance companies can solve the needs of consumers by drawing inspiration from some of the most innovative companies in the world, both in and out of the healthcare industry. In this series, we will look at brands that understand the deeper needs and pain points of their consumers—beyond the functional and physical—in order to shine a light on how healthcare companies can create compelling solutions and build powerfully human brands for the good of their patients. Catch up on the first two articles in the series, on Empathy and Simplicity here. 

These days, we are a Google search away from anything we want to know. This access to information gives us the power to learn new things, make more informed decisions and challenge our preconceived notions. Yet, we are still under-informed about something that shapes our everyday lives: our health.

Whether it’s finding the right diet or determining the most effective medicine for a chronic condition, finding clear, trustworthy information to make healthcare choices is hard to do. People want to be empowered by their choices, as seen from the popularity of wearables that monitor movement. In fact, 60% of adults say they track their weight, diet or exercise routine in some form. 33% say they track health indicators like blood pressure, blood sugar, headaches or sleep patterns.

There is a desire for knowledge, but it can be hard to find. Healthcare organizations have every incentive to share knowledge with customers, but it’s difficult to determine how and where to do it.

There is a solution. It’s just a matter of learning the best approach.

Empowerment in action

Empowering customers through information is something many brands have tried to do, but few have done it successfully. Nest broke through the pack. Before Nest, thermostats had remained unchanged for decades, with inflexible settings and high fluctuation cost. Nest changed that by providing a customizable, smart thermostat system that learns the users’ needs and coordinates an entire system to their schedule, saving them both energy and money. It automatically recognizes an empty house, adjusts to weather and manages temperature. Users can make direct changes through a smartphone app, even if they are miles away from home. Nest makes it easy for users to understand their habits and preferences through visual tracking updates, as well as give suggestions on how they can optimize their home, money and energy.

By empowering customers with information, Nest enables their users to make the right decisions for their living conditions. And the system works. In 2014, Google purchased Nest for $3.2 billion, enabling Nest to access the resources of a large company while retaining the independence of a category disrupting organization. Through selling the company, they ensured growth of the business.

In the healthcare space, empowerment may sound difficult. But brands like Healow, an eClinicalWorks company, are making it easy. Healow is an online platform that lets users communicate with their doctors to access appointments, lab results, vitals and medications for themselves and their family members all within one app. By tracking their numbers regularly to watch the trends evolve, doctors can share instant feedback and keep patients up to date on their health stats. This helps make patients feel more empowered to make healthy choices overall.

Enabling patients to make choices within their healthcare program through Healow has driven significant growth for its master brand. It has contributed heavily to eClinicalWorks’ $320 million revenue in 2014, and it expects 15-20% growth on its top and bottom line in 2015.

Why empowerment matters

Knowledge is power

Knowing where they stand enables patients to make smarter decisions about their healthcare. They feel more in control of their healthcare and more ready to engage with brands that will empower them further. Through transparency, healthcare brands can empower patients with the opportunity to choose what’s right for them.

Seeing is believing
By knowing more about the status of their health, patients can see progress when they make better choices. When their successes are made tangible, they’re motivated to keep pushing forward. When a brand offers access to information, patients are encouraged to believe that brand is an ally and not a hindrance.

Change is constant
Change can be scary for many patients, but with information people can face change with confidence. As many healthcare organizations know, moving through life stages can be strange and difficult work for patients. By providing them more information, they can ease transition and empower their ability to navigate change.

Whether through new access to information or enabling easier communication, empowering patients to make more informed decisions about their healthcare positions brands as allies in their wellness. As the source of empowerment, any healthcare brand can play a more intimate and meaningful role in the mind of the customer.

This post appears through the MedCity Influencers program. Anyone can publish their perspective on business and innovation in healthcare on MedCity News through MedCity Influencers. Click here to find out how.

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