How liquid patient expectations will affect hospitals in 2020

The experiences and expectations in the daily life of consumers will be influencing the hospital environment and healthcare industry as a whole.

People no longer base their expectations on specific industry categories. In the past, consumers compared and rated their experience of one car manufacturer with another. With the rise of ubiquitous multimodal interfaces in smartphones, tablets or voice assistants, users seem to less and less care about the specs and features that are state of the art in the automobile category. They are used to certain experiences when interacting with a device and are expecting the same in every area of their life. Tesla was actually one of the first companies to cater to these, what Accenture coined, “liquid expectations”. That’s why they put a giant tablet as the only input and output device into their vehicles.

Best in class has no meaning for patient consumers

Today, if an organization’s experience does not deliver on standards set by companies that do not directly compete in their domain, then it will lose customers and ultimately cease to exist.

Consumers no longer compare their experiences of two different car makers. They rather compare their car brand experience with that of their favorite e-commerce shop or a leading UX and design-driven brand like Apple, Nest or of the premium cooler company Yeti.

With seamless experiences in a variety of industries with leading brands, consumers expect other more traditional industries to follow or set a new standard themselves. The healthcare industry is no exception. Patients no longer just expect hospitals to have a sterile environment and fix them up when injured or sick. Often patients are able to choose which health institution they want to go to and they no longer just base their choice on the quality of care or accessibility. Because those measures are a pre-set standard now. Patients expect the level of care to be the highest and access to any health care facility is of no concern. Same, as consumers do not concern about a new car being able to drive properly or having a seatbelt.

Differentiation and thus elation, to the dismay of some doctors, happens now at a more profane level. Patients expect a hospital to have WiFi, they want to communicate digitally with staff and other healthcare providers. Entertainment and access to a premium variety of meal choices are becoming differentiators.

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Delightful digital experiences by non-traditional healthcare providers are a thread for industry veterans like community hospitals.

How liquid patient expectations will impact your health facility

We have learned, that liquid expectations happen, when the experiences of patients from one industry trickle through to the healthcare industry. The immediacy and accuracy of digital solutions are shaping expectations for even those services operating in the analog world.

In the past, healthcare providers were competing with other players in the healthcare industry, in 2020 and the following years, we will see non-typical companies entering the scene. These businesses will offer products or services that, while not physically similar to yours, offer an experience that effectively replaces yours.

Simple doctor — patient consultations will become more and more remote and virtual. The Teleclinic is a good example of demonstrating, that leaving the house to get a sick note from a doctor for your employer will, for this digital generation, become as preposterous as walking to the video store to rent a movie.

Increasingly, your most relevant competitors are those shaping the expectations of consumer experiences in every category. As a start, you can oppose that by investing in basic information and communications technology infrastructure and systems. Additionally, partnering with startups and service providers that will help you to purposely design delightful experiences for your patients, is smart way to foster a position as innovative healthcare facility.

Only healthcare providers who continuously re-shape experiences around their care for evolving expectations, will stay on top of the upcoming rise of competitive health offerings.

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