The Patient as a Consumer

Across the first two days of HLTH, perhaps no trend has gotten more airtime than “consumerization” — the idea that for healthcare to become more effective, it has to get a lot more consumer friendly. During a panel discussion on retail’s role in the next era of health and wellbeing, Walmart’s Marcus Osborne said that the idea that the patient and consumer experience are distinct was becoming increasingly irrelevant. What matters, he said, is simply to create an experience that people want to use. 

“Too often I hear Americans don’t engage with their healthcare,” he said. “That’s not on them. That’s on the system."

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Increasing Access

Across several different panels, the idea of getting outside an organization’s proverbial four walls to engage directly with consumers of healthcare and their unique needs was explored. Throughout these conversations, many spoke about how to improve access to healthcare services, especially for underserved populations. SCAN’s Dr. Sachin Jain said his advice to innovators was to “get your hands dirty as soon as possible,” stressing that it was patients themselves who could best explain what it is they need from those responsible for their care. CVS’ Dr. Sree Chaguturu said that “consumer preferences have changed” and that first and foremost was a desire for “optionality.” MasterCard’s Christina Brenner said “employees now have the expectation that we have benefits that meet them where they are.”

A Center of Innovation

That healthcare is now a center for innovation is perhaps “the only good thing” to come from the pandemic, said Transcarent’s Glenn Tullman. But while there has been an explosion of investment in the space, he stressed that “the only two things that matter in healthcare are experience and alignment” between the patient and provider. Solutions that did not increase simplicity and “shrink” the space between patients and providers were ultimately adding complexity and friction to an industry long saddled with far too much of each.

Tomorrow, our founder and CEO Kate Ryder will participate in a panel discussion on how Maven is bringing a consumer-first approach to women’s and family health on a panel alongside Doug Hirsch of GoodRx and Zach Reitano of Ro at 8:30 am ET. She will also speak with Anu Duggal of Female Founders Fund during the Women@HLTH Luncheon at 12:30 pm ET. If you’re at HLTH, we’d love to see you there.

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