Though once overwhelmed by the pandemic, many healthcare systems have already restructured themselves after learning critical lessons from COVID-19. They’ve taken advantage of the reset opportunity to cater to patients more effectively and productively. In turn, brands can learn from these shifts to guide their own evolving offerings.

One major shift has been toward streamlined services for patients. For example, in New York City, Weill Cornell Medicine has simplified and digitized many patient forms, with e-check-ins taking place before both in-person and telehealth visits through the hospital’s new patient portal. In addition to promoting safety, this provides physicians with up-to-date patient health information in advance of appointments.

“We will never go back to practicing medicine the way we did before,” said Adam Stracher, chief medical officer at Weill Cornell. “A lot of the things that improve efficiency and patient care will become permanent because they are good for everybody.”

The other critical shift is toward the consumerization of healthcare, which has been underway for years but has been accelerated by COVID-19, likely because more people are now motivated to take charge of their health due to their experience of the pandemic. Now, more than ever, patients are empowered to make their own decisions about who treats them and how.

Startups and novel clinics are bringing new offerings to the healthcare space, and more and more companies are adjusting their offerings to address the needs of our aging population, such as through home-centered offerings. Others are recognizing the new priorities patients place on both empathetic service during these challenging times and, of course, clean facilities. It’s important for a healthcare service offering to fit into the patient’s life, from appointment coordination to the visit itself to payment.

To keep up with healthcare consumerization, brands must not only market themselves to patients but connect with them deeply. They must focus on the junctures of a patient’s experience where they most need improvement and empowerment. The most successful organizations will commit to learning about the specific needs of the patients they serve, then create experiences that exceed their expectations.

About the Author:

Ben helps spark innovative healthcare thinking as Associate Director of Innovation. Previously on the editorial staff of Vanity Fair, he brings experience in engaging, rigorous storytelling to the healthcare world. Ben’s goals are to move brands to rethink their roles, own their evolving narratives, and maintain vital and vigorous consumer relationships.