How Do You React to the Cannibalization of Online Medical Services?

How Do You React to the Cannibalization of Online Medical Services?

Everyone in the healthcare industry might soon need to answer the question, “Is there an app for your healthcare services?”

From telemedicine to online physicians to a barrage of smartphone apps that are just starting to flood the market, interactions between patients, doctors and healthcare facilities are entering very new territory.

Instead of determining whether your next clinic or ambulatory care center will cannibalize any of your existing facilities, the real question to ask is: How are those unseen, virtual healthcare sites and diagnostic techniques stealing patients from my bricks-and-mortar locations?

It’s already happened in retail. And it’s nipping at the heels of healthcare now, for the same reasons it occurred in retail: All those consumers who’ve grown up with the Internet, mobile devices and social networking demand their services delivered through different channels.

What does that mean for your healthcare system? What kinds of patients will choose not to appear at your hospitals and clinics — at least not in person? How will staffing needs shift?

Here are just a few of the steps we suggest to every healthcare system now:

•  Un-silo your information. More than ever, all components of healthcare systems need to work together.

•  Use a combination of demographic and geospatial data to make sure your marketing strategy is targeted with laser-beam accuracy to the most likely new patients.

•  Track patient usage preferences and develop models for site selection and staffing so you can optimize patient care by location.

As long as you’re agile, you can avoid being cannibalized.