An executive from Microsoft was seated next to me on yesterday’s flight from Seattle. So that American could earn additional revenues, we both had our knees positioned by our ears. We could not have been closer together had we been conjoined twins—brothers from different mothers. My briefcase was on the floor, about three feet from my hands. I am certain I invented a few new yoga positions in my effort to retrieve my computer.
I spent the flight trying to become familiar with my MacBook Air. My cellmate pulled a very thin device from his bag. He typed. He moved things around on the screen with his fingers and with a stylus so rapidly that it left my head spinning. Unable to reach my keyboard due to the proximity of my laptop to my chin, I watched him run his device through its paces for a while.
I have been using a portable computer since the days Compaq came out with one the size of a steamer trunk. Nobody would call me exceptionally proficient with a portable, but I get by in most situations, and when I can’t I just pretend. But this guy was doing things on his I have never seen anyone do. He opened a copy of someone’s resume. Using his stylus he highlighted some of the information. Still using the stylus, he began to circle other items, and he wrote notes to himself on the screen.
I have a MacBook. He has a laptop, a touchscreen, and the functionality of a pen and paper all on a device that weighed less than half of mine. My expectation of what a remarkable portable experience should be had changed in an instant.
And that is what this is all about, isn’t it? Great experiences are those that exceed someone’s expectations.
Now on to healthcare, customer experience, and consumerism.
Healthcare’s moonshot opportunity is consumerism. Consumerism will change healthcare more than any other change in the last fifty years.
Or it won’t.
At least for a lot of providers. The thing is, very, very few providers even seem to be aware that there is a moon worth shooting for, and even fewer are aiming for it.
If providers started now to develop a strategy to effectively implement a consumerism business model, it would take them a minimum of two years to be able to replicate the functionality their competitors had in place five years ago.
A seven year lag. Maybe it is time to start.
Just to be clear, consumerism is not valet parking. It is not we proudly serve Starbucks. And it is not free Wi-Fi in the waiting rooms.
There are all sorts of presentations and white papers on consumerism you can read. You can collect consumerism bullet points like some people collect seashells. You can create a healthcare consumerism exploratory committee—if you cater the lunch more people will be likely to attend. But it helps to know what consumerism is, and it helps to be able to explain it to someone in one sentence. So, in case you are having trouble coming up with a sentence, I’ll lend you mine:
Consumers expect to be able to carry their health system around on their smart device and interact with it to the same degree they interact with Amazon.