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Challenges in Delivering Personalized Healthcare

March 1, 2022 - Parul Saini, Webmedy Team


Providing healthcare services comprised of trained professionals, institutions, and resources aims to meet the needs of patients. The success of care outcomes depends on doctors' abilities to assess patient needs and help patients heal.

Despite tremendous consumer technology advances and streamlined communication, healthcare delivery still lacks an important component i.e Personalization. Personalizing healthcare is currently a distant concept in an industry that relies on a traditional fee-for-service model.

Healthcare Context is Changing

Unlike other industries with a customer-facing culture, healthcare has never subscribed to the mantra 'the customer is king'. The reason for this has a lot to do with a healthcare transaction's context. With the urgency of the 'customer', the balance of power shifts from the 'buyer' to the 'seller', or provider of care. Nevertheless, the economy of the industry has indicated a shift towards a more patient-centric trend over the last decade. Healthcare IT trends, industry regulations, and changing market dynamics have triggered complex changes that are transforming healthcare into a value-based sector.

Ways to Include Personalized Experiences

Healthcare providers need to market to consumers differently since each consumer has particular communication preferences, behaviors, and attitudes. It is important for healthcare players to fully understand these five requirements to fully create an effective personalized experience.

  • Access All Patient Data

    Healthcare companies must gain a profound understanding of their patients to provide personalized care. For healthcare companies to achieve this understanding, they need to have access to unified patient data across the enterprise into a single customer view.

    According to a survey, 55% of marketers in healthcare are working with systems to enhance marketing's view of customers by adding data from each touchpoint and interaction point along the customer journey. During this process, it is important to identify who owns the data they intend to use, and how they can make the best use of it with consumer consent. In the end, data-driven approaches for healthcare personalization hold crucial importance for healthcare companies.

  • Data Unification

    Due to the presence of technology silos, consumers have an interrupted experience. More than $18 billion has been invested in health technology since 2006. The digital health network is highly fragmented. Integrating all internal technologies, such as a customer data platform, can eliminate this friction. Additionally, a flexible approach to technology integration will make the organization future-proof and allow it to adopt new technology as the organization innovates its patient experience moving forward.

  • Personalized Scales

    The next step is to determine how to personalize experiences on a massive scale once all the member data is unified into a Single Customer View. Only 7% of marketers use in-line analytics to enable individualized experiences across the healthcare industry. Healthcare organizations will not be able to survive disruption unless they personalize the patient experience on a large scale through data-driven approaches.

  • Adopt the Customer's Pace

    Healthcare organizations need to be prepared to connect with their patients on a variety of online and offline channels and touchpoints in real-time while understanding the context of their patients. Consumer journeys are no longer linear but rather dynamic and multi-staged, so healthcare organizations must connect with their patients on multiple channels. Today's consumers are accustomed to superior experiences brought to them by Netflix, Amazon, etc., and expect their healthcare partners to deliver highly personalized and relevant messaging through their preferred channel.

  • Deliver a Great Experience

    To succeed in the healthcare industry today, healthcare organizations must understand that consumers expect clear and immediate value. Leading brands that focus on engagement can overtake incumbents who have a lot of friction in their experience resulting from silos of data, technology, and services. A customer does not care if personalization is hard to deliver by an enterprise, they will migrate to companies that provide a superior experience. To thrive, healthcare enterprises need to deliver a member experience similar to that of leading retailers.

Challenges in Achieving Personalization in Healthcare

  • An Incomplete Picture of the Patient

    When dealing with patients, doctors need to consider their anxiety level as well as whether or not they wish to contribute to the improvement of their care. A patient who is aware of their medical condition can relate it to their state of mind, financial condition, etc. To improve care, doctors must delve deeper into the psychology of patients. Current efforts leave much to be desired.

  • Problems in Defining an All-Encompassing Patient Journey

    In areas like specialized and palliative care, health providers have few options to determine a course of treatment for a patient. This means a joint effort from caregivers is needed to make treatments more effective. For personalized care, which calls for doctors to visualize and define a patient's journey, doctors require better tools with advanced features that provide insight into how a patient responds to treatment and what needs to be planned.

  • No Accountability for Care

    Currently, it is impossible to determine the quality of care given to a patient without relating care outcomes to the actions taken during the process. Care organizations now lack a single point of accountability, which makes it difficult to measure the quality of care. To provide personalized healthcare in the future, it is essential to study and record empirical data. This calls for solutions beyond the realm of healthcare, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM).

  • Ineffective Patient-Provider Communication

    The efficiency of patient and provider interaction is essential for improving care outcomes. However, at the moment, it is only available in hospitals. Once a patient is discharged, these interactions end and they are left alone. In outpatient medical procedures like orthopedic surgery, patient and provider interaction is crucial for a safe recovery. In the event of complications, this gap contributes to the confusion and the emotional turmoil of patients. The time a doctor spends on the phone is just as important to patients as the time he or she spends in the hospital.

The goal of healthcare is to connect consumers to the right care and to combine data from pharma, providers, payers, and patients. As a result of the one-to-one engagement, personalized, prioritized, and preemptive healthcare is essential. By increasing consumers' comfort levels with these approaches, healthcare organizations can introduce new proactive ways to interact with healthcare consumers that simplify healthcare delivery and drive better outcomes.

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