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Consumerization of Healthcare: Using Technology to Keep Up

By 07.19.19
Reading time: 3 minutes

In working for Silverline, I am lucky to have a role that lets me guide organizations in understanding how their business operations can better align with patient’s changing expectations. 

Organizations are quickly finding themselves wondering where, why, and how patients are choosing out-of-network services. They’re left puzzled by the fact that one area of their organization is getting rave reviews yet other areas have large gaps towards improvement. 

Patients as Consumers

One underlying issue exists in what I like to call the Consumerization of Healthcare. Healthcare systems small and large are finding the need to catch up and understand how the new patient consumer works as both patient and consumer. In simple terms, consumerization is a focus of services, designs, and marketing to the end user as an individual consumer or customer. In healthcare, patients can now be understood as customers of services with options for using technology as a tool to connect the choices, services, and expected interactions. 

Patient consumers do not simply accept what they are given: gone are clinical services that target the larger categories of patients, gone are the single locations for diagnostic services. Patient consumers are informed, appreciate competition, want ease of access, and services catered to their small group or individual needs. Consumers in the retail world have several options with various levels of concierge services — and now patients are expecting healthcare to catch up. How is your healthcare organization going to compete with new expectations?

To help organizations understand the patient’s point of view, it’s best to step back and remember what you’d really want as a patient when you have a painful headache, diabetes you are managing, or rushing to meet a loved one checking into an ER. In these health emergencies and moments of need, you want technology to help at the right level at the right time. It’s not just about having new technology to keep up with other business trends, it’s about how technology is helping to facilitate your expectations for services and care

Bringing Tech into Healthcare

By leveraging the Salesforce platform, Silverline provides a point of view on the challenges your organization faces to accommodate a wide range of patient consumers by focusing on:

  • What barriers to care does your population of patients face? (transportation, language, physical disabilities, etc.)
  • How adaptable are your technology tools for mobile devices vs home computer/laptop use?
  • How often will your patients need reminders for yearly events? (Physicals, tests, shots, etc.)
  • How are patient outreach programs being tied back to services within your network?
  • Do your patients feel like you really know them and understand their level of care needed for next steps?

Silverline can help insert technology at the right time and place. The nature of healthcare will always require levels of human interaction that can’t be replaced. In times of stress and worry, a patient or caregiver will need a different kind of TLC, so having the right internal tools to facilitate those interactions is key to efficiency and success. Your organization should be able to adapt and pivot easily to your patient’s needs. 

As a mom, a patient, and a caregiver to my aging parents, the topic of consumerization is important to me. It’s humbling that having these people and patient-first perspectives about healthcare informs the process of guiding organizations to be their best self. I am constantly inspired by those who can share even the smallest perspective, and grateful that in the landscape of technology, I am able to act and draw from these experiences to be part of a greater healthcare journey.   


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