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Healthcare and the new consumer

Healthcare and the new consumer

As healthcare ‘patients’ evolve into healthcare ‘consumers’ they are demanding the services, technology, choice and transparency that they receive from other sectors. The onus is on healthcare providers to rise to the challenge.


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Today’s healthcare consumers want to be spoilt for choice. Their expectations of service have been shaped by numerous factors, but none more so than the convenience they receive from technology and the customer experience offered by other industries, such as retail, banking and hospitality.

Where once a patient predominantly visited their local GP and accepted their view as definitive, today’s consumer is far more engaged with their healthcare options. And, importantly, they have the technology to take control of their journey, and make the most of their options.

With this shift, healthcare providers must realise that the role of ‘patient’ moves to that of healthcare ‘consumer’. These consumers want increased information for decisions, proactive care, an engaging digital experience, and transparency in their pricing and billing. Any service they receive must be highly personalised to their needs and be convenient – enabling them to access healthcare when, where and how they want.

The health tech revolution

Technology, as explored in the KPMG report Healthcare reimagined: Innovation trends, predictions and actions for healthcare leaders, is a significant driver in creating these new expectations, and in meeting them.

The Internet, coupled with convenient and affordable mobile devices, is not only facilitating a fast connected experience, but is providing the healthcare industry with the means to provide greater transparency and choice. It enables providers to satisfy consumer needs for relevant information and advice, in addition to tailored tools that can monitor and assist with diagnosis and treatment, wherever consumers are.

Advances include digital platforms that connect healthcare providers directly to consumers so that treatments and reminders can be easily communicated and tracked. And when linked with appropriate social media, consumers can then receive access to, and information from, an extensive knowledge base; benefiting from others who perhaps are experiencing the same condition.

A doctor’s office in San Francisco called ‘Forward’ is at the forefront of offering this consumer experience. It is reimagining the end-to-end consumer healthcare journey through the use of proprietary technology, including Artificial Intelligence, a ‘Forward’ Body Scanner, real-time onsite blood testing and genetic testing. This is helping the medical professionals to build a complete picture of a patient’s health and to create a tailored plan for prevention of issues, or ongoing care.

The challenge for healthcare providers

Despite some great advances, there is still a strong disconnect between consumers’ expectations of healthcare and their actual experience.

While there is a huge investment in Health IT, from wearable devices to 3D printing, robotic exoskeletons, gene therapy, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality and more, much is focused on treatment, and not specifically on improving the overall experience of healthcare consumers during each step of their journey.

There needs to be a shift from ‘volume’ to ‘value’, with providers engaging technology to develop customer centric services that are personalised and provide a better end-to-end healthcare experience. Silos between providers need to be removed, and the geographic reach of services expanded via technology.

For healthcare providers, the ultimate goal is to achieve operational efficiency while providing best outcomes for those under their care. In todays’ competitive environment, where consumers have choice, they should always keep in mind: consumer expectations are high and will only increase.

Find out more about how technology is helping healthcare providers meet these expectations in the KPMG report Healthcare reimagined: Innovation trends, predictions and actions for healthcare leaders.

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