If healthcare providers are going to keep pace with the increasing demands of a customer base that is growing more accustomed to seamless interfaces and virtual service, they are going to have to find answers to a few fundamental questions.


A recent article by Harvard Business Review highlights the lessons that the healthcare industry can learn from the customer experience currently offered by major retailers – a mix of convenience and quality in-person service.

Consumers are coming to expect the efficiency and ease of the front-end digital experiences that are offered more and more by retailers, banks, and airlines.

However, if healthcare providers want to provide the same kind of experience and customer satisfaction that is provided in the retail sector, they will need to address more than just a user interface.

The article outlines three major questions that need to be answered by the health care providers if this effort toward a major evolution in providing virtual healthcare is to be successful:

  • What are the strategic goals that virtual healthcare is trying to achieve? There are several outcomes of a shift to a new system, with goals including patient convenience, customer satisfaction and improved access.
  • How will success be measured? Systems will need to be put in place to measure the success of new programs. Providers who don’t have the resources to measure the data collected may need to find partners who can collect trial data and publish results.
  • Will there be adequate time and resources to learn and master new digital tools? With many providers already stretched thin, how and when they will learn new systems and provide care to patients using virtual tools is a significant challenge.

With the necessity for big changes looming, healthcare providers will have to scramble to keep up, or turn to companies focused solely on the technology needed to provide care through integrated digital platforms.

As with retail, healthcare is looking at a future where customer loyalty will be swayed based on convenience and efficiency as much as on the quality of services provided.

The entire article can be found online at Harvard Business Review.