A Perspective on the Role of Consumerism in Healthcare

(by Patrick Talmadge Harris – CEO & Founder, PatEx)

Retail Reflection

Lately I’ve been thinking of one of my favorite specialty food stores in the triad area of North Carolina.  I have vivid memories of it as a child with my mother before football games, during college as a decompression spot after exams and as an adult in a business capacity.  It is truly an amazing business.  One thing that makes it an amazing business is the in-store experience itself.  So what makes it an amazing in-store experience?  Personable and educated staff, wonderful merchandising – engaging and makes the customer want to buy - and great customer service.  This particular retail business has many, many repeat customers and each party values the other as a business partner. 

Food is a variable product (even more extreme than most consumer products) and the supply chains are difficult but even more difficult the higher you set the quality bar.  This is an interesting concept to say “you get what you pay for,” but is the same true for healthcare?  Sure, I think it is as it is about perceived value.   With certain constants held equal, certain variables across ‘platforms’, and an expanding list of factors, perceived value is a vital part of process improvement for healthcare organizations. 

Retail Customer Service Applications to Healthcare

  • Promote a wonderful “in-store” visit – educated, friendly staff – pleasant physical environment, ‘visual merchandising’ – think – digital communications that promote a great consumer user experience;
  • Increasing awareness of healthcare quality and specialty;
  • Customer Service is a given;
  • Think – Value Add.