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DACH Region IE Alumni Roundtable Discussion on the Future of Healthcare Customer Engagement

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On April 15, the DACH region alumni hosted a Roundtable discussion with Mauricio Campos discussing the future of healthcare.

During this roundtable we had the chance to listen to the opinions from IE alumni from the DACH region working for healthcare companies. The main topic of the conversation was about Customer Engagement and the Future of Digital in the sector.

Key topics we discussed included the following:

  • “New Normal” for healthcare customer engagement
  • Healthcare customer unmet needs
  • Opportunities ahead
  • The role of Healthcare companies

Background:
The pandemic has accelerated the changes undergoing in healthcare. The combination of external and internal factors is making every stakeholder in the healthcare ecosystem re-think their positioning and strategy moving forward.

Some of the shifts undergoing that impact HealthCare professionals and Patients are:

  • Public concerns: Patients are still concerned about contracting COVID-19, along with other concerns about the increased risk from their ongoing medication and in-person medical care
  • Risk of Syndemic: Due to diagnosis / treatment delays due to COVID-19, we are facing the risk of a syndemic. In the US alone, more than 40% of Americans have reported postponing medical care due to COVID-19. Preventive cancer screenings have plummeted during the pandemic, along with visits to ambulatory practices. Vaccination rates for diseases like mumps and measles are also down. Other countries report similar trends.
  • Telemedicine era: Majority of patients prefer a mix of in-person and telehealth appointments across EU-5.
  • Zoom Fatigue: All medical education and HCPs engagement was shifted completely to a virtual environment. This was a radical shift for the Pharma industry versus 2019 when most engagement was done face-to-face (F2F). After a year of remote engagement, the impact of it has deteriorated significantly.

All companies represented in the roundtable experienced similar challenges as our customers and sense of uncertainty.

Challenges:
During the conversation, we had an exchange about the reasons behind the lack of impact of remote / digital medical education / engagement.
Some of the common highlights included:

  • Remote engagement has a perception of ‘less valuable’ than F2F.
  • All informal conversation is gone, and all exchanges mostly focus on business topics, therefore, losing the personal touch of traditional formats.
  • Asking feedback to be closer to the customer was traditionally done in-person to build relationships. Due to the shift most of that feedback and attempts to be closer to the customer is gone.
  • Most of the ‘context’ for the engagement is missing in digital approaches.
  • Part of this shift has to do with the lack of physical congresses and medical events that shifted completely to virtual environments. Removing the ‘barriers’ of entrance that made those activities. The VIP / ‘feeling special’ element from the relatively small group of attendees is now hard to replicate in the virtual world.
  • Heavy regulatory frameworks make it hard for healthcare companies to be able to adopt agility at a speed that is required for virtual customer engagement.
  • The heavy traditional regulatory framework for the industry creates extra cost, delays, and inefficiencies.
  • Treat or Opportunity: BigTech is rapidly penetrating Healthcare

The Future of Customer Engagement:
The challenges ahead for the sector are enormous. Still, there are reasons to believe that 2020/2021 will be an inflection point. Healthcare should transform and this change can bring a much healthier and fit-for-future system if we are able to embrace the shift and adapt.
Here are some highlights we found during the conversation:

  • The need to redefine the value proposition of the customer engagement of all companies operating in healthcare.
  • To be able to be part of the solution.
  • Co-creation of solutions (beyond competition elements) that address the patients’ needs and real problems from the healthcare system.
  • We need to focus on listening to our customers more and to answer their needs.
  • We probably have more data from our customer than ever before, data silos are not allowing most companies to extract insights from it. Data is probably one of the biggest opportunities for the sector.
  • Content is ‘king,’ but we should be better prepared to produce it with high standards, efficiently, and fast enough to address the speed of the digital world.
  • In a constantly rapidly changing environment, we should be more flexible to adapt and change based on the situation.
  • The incentive model for customer engagement from the past is outdated and needs to be revisited.
  • Value creation for this new incentive model is critical.
  • The patient decision power and healthcare self-management will continue increasing. This will decentralize many of the traditional healthcare ‘power’ structures and we should be able to adapt with it.
  • Reimbursement of digital therapies is opening a new market that today is only delivered ‘around the pill’ but mostly not as ‘standalone’ therapies.
  • Personalization: We need to move beyond traditional targeting and lead our engagement based on true individual preferences to deliver value.
  • Regulatory and Healthcare companies’ co-creation of a new more agile regulatory frameworks will allow faster, better results in more cost-effective ways for payers and patients.

Conclusions:
The challenges ahead for healthcare were never greater than they are today. All stakeholders in the ecosystem should work together towards the reinvention of Healthcare with strong focus on people, data, and outcomes. The co-creation of future solutions has the potential to not only solve current problems, but to enlarge the opportunity for current and future service / product providers. Hopefully shifting from ‘sick-care’ to true patient focus healthcare system across the sector.

Written by: Mauricio Campos , GXMBA Alumni 2016