by Eliza Campbell and Sarah Hostetter
Most of our conversations with physician executives about consumerism boil down to: "I want to invest in [fill in the blank] innovation. But I can't get my physicians to buy in." While some champions might adopt an innovation more permanently, most new initiatives fizzle out in the pilot phase. To date, true disruptive transformation has been slow, incremental, and over long periods of time.
Covid-19 brought providers to the starting line
Covid-19 changed that. Physicians transformed how they deliver care in a matter of weeks—rapidly adopting telehealth, seeing patients outside traditional hours, and embracing more flexibility in their schedules and where they practice. While physicians made these changes in response to the epidemic, patients have wanted to interact with their physicians in this way for years, according to Advisory Board's survey data. In effect, Covid-19 served as a single, accelerated pilot test for consumerism. It provided physicians with firsthand evidence and convinced them of the business imperative for these initiatives. As a result, leaders now have more physician buy-in than ever before.
Don't lose momentum
However, just sustaining Covid-driven innovations isn't enough to keep up with ever-evolving consumer demands. The starting line for consumerism is moving even further forward in two important ways:
Covid-19 is changing patient expectations. We're already seeing the epidemic reshape consumer behavior. For example, according to our latest survey data, most patients prefer a virtual visit over a one-day wait for in-person care. This epidemic has brought most physicians the closest they've ever come to true on-demand care—and patients don't want to go back.
- Disrupters are poised to become even more disruptive. For years, we've tracked new competitors, especially in primary care, trying to shake up the doctor-patient relationship—and do so at a faster pace than many traditional provider organizations. We're already seeing these players differentiate their value proposition and capitalize on their patient-centricity in light of the epidemic.
If clinical executives are going to keep up with these evolving demands and new competitors, they must continue to embrace rapid, transformative innovation and keep their physicians engaged in these efforts beyond the epidemic. Continued innovation on these new consumer demands is the key to not just remaining competitive but actively growing market share.