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Three Trends in Healthcare Businesses Shouldn’t Ignore

The healthcare industry is experiencing massive amounts of change and with more than 40 percent of our business being in the healthcare space, we have observed common trends among these changes that will affect the future of this industry. So, what are the three main trends we foresee impacting healthcare over the next five years? And how are we adapting with these trends?

Trend 1: Consumerization of healthcare
Consumerization of healthcare is one of the biggest shifts that is affecting the way providers, payers, and manufacturers support patients. The expectations of today’s healthcare consumer has changed dramatically. Patients are more informed, with access to online tools and content at their fingertips, they are becoming more involved in their healthcare decisions and expect to partner with providers, rather than simply take instructions from them.

The increased knowledge and confidence of an educated patient fosters the trend toward care partnership rather than patients as recipients of care. Patients are also increasingly taking on more financial responsibility due to increased participation in high deductible plans. Because of this, patients have a higher demand for quality of their care experience, access to providers, and cost transparency.

At Effective, our human-centered design approach gives us the unique ability to understand the needs and expectations of the consumer. Clients come to us to help them build better experiences for their consumers and employees. We conduct research and use those insights to guide our design decision making process when creating a digital interaction.

In an engagement with a large health insurance company, we were tasked with reimagining the optimal plan selection and member experience. We needed to understand how audience expectations and needs would inform the structure, content, prioritization, and tone of every aspect of the product. For example, cost transparency was paramount in both the plan selection experience as well as the member portal.

As a result, the design included clear descriptions of coverage in prominent places in the interface. Providing the information and tools needed to attract and retain a discerning, as well as generally untrusting, and disloyal consumer market was an exercise in trial and error through user testing, ultimately resulting in a suite of products that satisfied the needs of the market.

Trend 2. Patient Connectivity
Consumers are becoming more and more connected, and that will only continue to grow throughout the next five years and beyond. In the healthcare space, new tools will enable healthcare professionals to stay in contact with their patients, and care for patients outside of the clinical setting. New and evolving technology will continue to increase this connectivity and patient’s access to resources that will support their healthcare journey.

To better understand how to best serve the patient, companies must understand the full patient journey and interactions. Our approach includes a process for assessing these new and emerging technologies to determine how, when, and where they are appropriate and can support the patient’s journey. We are able to outline this journey through journey maps. Journey maps document the patient experience; including key activities, the emotional journey, pain points, and any opportunities to add value. This allows us to bring forth new technologies that will fit into the patient’s lifestyle and enable more connectivity which helps to ensure adherence, improve compliance to treatment plans, and allows for “healing at home.”

Trend 3. Mergers & Acquisitions
Healthcare mergers and acquisitions have become almost daily news. We believe this trend will continue over the next five years as the need for integrated delivery systems grows and margins tighten. Following a merger or acquisition, a company will either maintain one of the organization’s brands or need a new one entirely. Once a brand has been established and fully developed, and the visual and verbal brand strategy has been created, additional guidelines are needed to ensure consistency in user experience, usability, and functional software development. At this time, organizations need a set of principles that provide a baseline and holistic user experience and user interface across their entire ecosystem of digital products, a design system.

Design systems help companies navigate the impacts mergers and acquisitions have on their various digital properties. When developing design systems for our clients, we stick to core principles that include a set of standards that will create user experiences that support the new, combined, brand with the core values driving the products. The goal of such a resource is to foster the creation of an ecosystem of digital products, built with the core principles of consistency, simplicity and intuitiveness in mind.

We’ll be closely watching how these trends continue to shape the healthcare industry. If you have any questions or projects you’d like to discuss. Reach out at partner@effectiveinc.com.