I’ve been thinking about the “left flank” a lot recently. The concept is taught by military historians here at Gettysburg—the threat you never saw coming. (For more on Colonel Joshua Chamberlain, Little Round Top at Gettysburg, and left flanks, see Colonel Chamberlain & Decisionmaking In Times Of Change: How To Make The Best Strategic Decisions For Your Organization and Transformational & Transactional Leadership In Four Slides.)
In health and human services, there is another set of organizations making up the new “left flank”—unexpected organizations doing unexpected things in the health and human service field. Who is on my list?
United Parcel Service (UPS) is delivering vaccinations to consumers at home—A truly surprising entrant into health care this year is UPS, which announced that it is going to test a U.S. service that dispatches nurses to vaccinate consumers in their homes (see UPS Eyes In-Home Health Services With U.S. Vaccine Project). While the exact vaccines to be dispensed haven’t been announced, UPS has announced that it will use a 1.7 million-square-foot facility in Kentucky as the “hub” for packaging and shipping vaccines out to franchised UPS stores.
Best Buy is now selling emergency response services and tech-enabled home medical visits—Last year, Best Buy purchased Great Call, and just last week they announced a partnership with Israeli-based Tyto Care, American Well, and Minnesota-based Sanford Health to offer home telehealth (see Consumers Get Another Digital Home Health Offering As Tyto Care and Best Buy Launch TytoHome and Best Buy Expands Reach Into Digital Health Space With Tyto Care Partnership).
Amazon is now accepting HSA payments and improving their virtual assistant’s ability to answer health care questions (Alexa is now HIPAA compliant!)—Amazon has updated its payment policies and is now able to accept payment from consumer’s health savings accounts (HSAs) and flexible spending accounts (FSAs) to pay for eligible health care items, such as durable medical equipment or supplies, diabetes care accessories, home diagnostic devices, vital sign monitoring devices, and wheelchairs and other mobility devices (see Amazon Now Accepting Health Savings Accounts For Medical Purchases). Amazon is also now offering a series of HIPAA-compliant Alexa Skills that allow users to consult the digital assistant with health-focused questions (see Introducing New Alexa Healthcare Skills). In February Cedars-Sinai announced a pilot program allowing consumers to use an Alexa-powered platform, called Aiva, in inpatient rooms. Consumers tell the device what they need and it classifies, prioritizes, and sends these requests to the appropriate caregiver’s mobile phone (see Cedars-Sinai Pilots Aiva Virtual Assistant In Patient Rooms).
Apple is streamlining consumer health care data and opening concierge-based primary care clinics—While in no way official, FierceHealthcare reports that “recently published patent filings support the idea that the company has ambitions to be the Mint.com of health records by aggregating all consumers’ health data in one place on their mobile devices” (see Patent Filings Hint At Apple’s Potential Move Into Managing Healthcare Records). This kind of news, plus reports that Morgan Stanley assessed the Apple platforms as disruptors to the health-care industry and found “The company’s health-care market opportunity ranges from at least $15 billion to a whopping $313 billion in revenue by 2027” (see Apple’s Healthcare Take Could Be $313 Billion by 2027, Analysts Say), promise much more to come. And last year, Apple announced two primary care clinics near Apple’s headquarters in Santa Clara County, California. Branded AC Wellness Centers, these clinics will provide Apple employees and their families team-based care focused on delivering a concierge-like health care experience (see Apple Launches Employee Medical Clinics).
Google is utilizing artificial intelligence to improve the consumer experience—Google Cloud, which provides a secure cloud platform built on Google’s private network, recently announced that it is working with Deloitte to provide a suite of advanced tech solutions aimed at health care, including application services, analytics, and machine learning (see Deloitte and Google Cloud: Create Your Future In Real Time). While this partnership is still in its preliminary stages, last fall CareCloud announced “it will use Google’s Healthcare API to extend its interoperability, patient experience, and practice management services to ambulatory customers” (see CareCloud Taps Google Cloud’s Healthcare API To Boost Interoperability, Patient Experience). For more of our coverage of Google’s move into health care, check out The Footprint Of The Elephant In Health Care.
Is there a common theme here beyond new entrants doing new services? What struck me is the consumer-facing nature of these new service and product offerings. This wave of new and disruptive entrants in the field are going to focus on changing consumer expectations of a health care experience. The key metrics for assessing consumer experience include:
- Online presence—see Competing Requires More Than Performance – You Need A Presence and Finding The Path To Online Marketing Success: An OPEN MINDS Reading Book On Best Practices In Website & Social Media Marketing
- Online reputation—see As Online Ratings Grow, Your Online Reputation Matters More and Is Your Online Marketing Plan Up to Speed? The OPEN MINDS Approach To Digital Marketing
- Brand—see The “M” Word In Health & Human Services Strategy-Why Marketing Should Be Part Of The Everyday Conversation and Health & Human Service Rebranding In 2018-New Positioning & Mergers Drive Change
- Access statistics—see Overcoming The Virtual Health Paradox and For Health Plans, Technology = Improved Consumer Access
- Net promoter score—see Considering Cash-& Consumerism-In Service Line Planning and How Consumer Engagement Is Reshaping Service Delivery
If your executive team is not focused on ”the experience” of consumers and measuring experience attributes, these are additions you should consider in your organizational performance metrics. For some broader information on performance measurement and management, check out The Changing Market Landscape For Behavioral Health Services: Strategies To Compete With The New Disruptors and Performance Management Fundamentals: An Introduction.
If you want to get your team up to speed on what it takes for traditional health and human service organizations to survive in the face of disruptors (known and unknown), don’t miss my closing keynote on June 5 at The 2019 OPEN MINDS Strategy & Innovation Institute for my session, What Does It Take To Outlast The Disruptors? Building A New Strategy For A New Market.