User interacting with gold iPhone

Effective Thinking

2017: The year to break boundaries in the healthcare industry

Transformation is taking place in the healthcare industry like never before. It’s no surprise that the theme of this year’s Wharton Healthcare Business Conference was Breaking Boundaries: Redefining Collaboration and Competition in an Evolving Market. Throughout the day the conversation centered on reevaluating how physicians, payers, and payees participate within this evolution. With the uncertainty of the ACA, the move to value-based care, and a leap in industry innovation, boundaries must be broken.

Boundaries in collaboration

There is a current tension between collaboration and competition in the healthcare space. Leaders today must look to creatively join forces with non-traditional partners. No longer can healthcare giants (and smaller companies) innovate without non-traditional guests at the table. Emerging technology and artificial intelligence are driving new business models and improved user experiences, bridging the gap in achieving better outcomes. There are several examples of collaboration: Ascension Health and Lyft partnering to transport non-emergency patients to appointments. GSK teaming with Google’s Verily to treat rheumatoid arthritis. Teladoc collaborating with Compass to provide patients, who otherwise might not have it, access to quality care.

Physicians in a hospital hallway viewing a patient's room.

Boundaries in physician/patient communication

The healthcare industry is uniquely complicated compared to other service industries. Currently, major disconnect exists in the patient ‘understanding’ landscape from a communication gap throughout the care experience.

At the conference, panel experts emphasized the importance of understanding the full patient experience – the activities, the challenges and why they exist, particularly from the patients’ point of view. This means enabling conversations and experiences that capture this information directly from patients, from questions that physicians can ask during a care visit or an online survey tool that prompts patient feedback while in the clinic waiting area. It’s no secret that the better the engagement between physician and patient, the more likely that patient is to come back and refer others; leading to greater profits.

Boundaries in integrity

Like most other things in life, consumers want their healthcare to be simple yet meaningful. Patients want access, transparency, convenience, and to feel as though their wellbeing truly matters. They want easy check-ins, clear explanations by physicians, and care close to home. The future of healthcare very well might be at home again, or at least in ambulatory care near the home.

Similarly, innovation and solutions in healthcare will need to be simple and designed purposefully to be effective. There are more than 100,000 health and fitness apps. Search the app store for ‘Medical’ and you will find everything from headache controllers, to pharmacy guides, to medical marijuana dispensary nearby (truth). The conference contention, however, was that the majority of these apps are hot for a week and then dissolve. There’s a demand for helpful apps, but most are failing to deliver on solutions that are truly serving the patient (and one could argue physician) needs.

Opportunities in 2017

Innovation, built through collaboration and partnerships, will guide the way in 2017. Healthcare transformation will include breaking boundaries to build strategic collaborations, enhance communication among physicians and patients, and improve experiences by designing with purpose.

At EffectiveUI, we’re excited for the opportunities of healthcare transformation. As experience design specialists, we leverage our measurable, human-centered design approach to design better experiences. We’ve teamed with healthcare companies on activities ranging from designing patient experience journey maps to strategizing health insurance consumer portals to supporting organizational shifts to value-based care model. Learn more about our approach to healthcare with the “Three key healthcare trends reshaping digital product design.