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The future of private healthcare is listening to patients

In this article, Fiona Bennie of Uscreates investigates Peer-to-peer exchange. Two heads are indeed better than one, and the world of healthcare is harnessing that capability.

Peer-to-peer exchange – in a world where sharing is the norm

In 2014 global crowd-funding platforms raised $16.2 billion. Meanwhile crowd-sourcing ideas has become the norm for large corporates like Unilever and a genius way to solve social problems through hackathons and similar activities that pool the resources of clever, like-minded individuals. Two heads are indeed better than one, and the world of healthcare is harnessing that capability.

TrialReach helps consumers discover new treatment options being developed by medical researchers. They match the right consumers to the right trial.

A vast number of online peer-to-peer support, advice and community groups are growing and global – ihadcancer.com enables more than 250,000 worldwide to share their experiences and navigate life after cancer.

And for the professionals, CrowdMed uses ‘medical crowdsourcing’ to help solve difficult medical cases by pooling minds from across the globe. Between 2013-2014 CrowdMed solved over 120 real-world medical cases and registered over 5,000 volunteer Medical Detectives. The stories on this site are mind-blowing.

UK-based TouchSurgery gives surgeons the opportunity to practice ‘digital surgery’ on the go, benchmark themselves against their peers and collaborate on tricky surgical procedures.
Connecting the right people to the right support or problem can only be a good thing. Private healthcare needs to work out how it can build this positive force for good into its business models, growing and enhancing trust in its brands, building ever more skills across its professionals and reassuring its patients.

Should private healthcare providers complement or compete with existing platforms?

How can private healthcare providers facilitate peer-to-peer sharing and support where it is needed most?  

Rate & review – in a world where there’s nowhere to hide

According to Neilson’s Global Trust In Advertising survey, recommendations from friends and family are the most trusted opinions and two-thirds of respondents trust consumer opinions posted online more than ads on TV, in magazines, online and so on. We prefer to listen to individuals we don’t know over the companies and brands who claim to be experts in their fields.

Patient Opinion is the TripAdvisor of healthcare in the UK. Patients are able to share the good bad and ugly truth about treatment and care they have received. Prospective patients can browse through reviews and make a more informed choice about which healthcare provider to choose. Private Healthcare UK offers a similar model, dedicated to the private sector.

In the US, Yelp goes beyond the remit of a review-based Yellow Pages model and provides ER waiting times and an overall rating on things that may be important to patients like doctor communication and quiet rooms – they are hooked into a real-time feedback mechanism that keeps patients informed right up to point of making a choice.

And back in the UK, some NHS hospitals are pioneering real-time models that help patients make decisions about which A&E department to go to based on live waiting times, car park availability and a reminder about which service you should go to for which need. This provides a win for the patient and a win for the NHS who can presumably keep numbers to a minimum wherever possible.

Patients tend to have very high expectations of private healthcare, especially if they are coming from the NHS – they’re expecting to be treated like film stars and for everything to run like clockwork. The private healthcare sector has a tough job on its hands meeting these expectations so positive patient ratings and reviews are crucial. 74% of Millennials consider the ability to book appointments and pay bills online an important factor when choosing a doctor – their world is heavily influenced by digital channels, efficient feedback mechanisms and slick, streamlined services they can participate in and contribute to. Many healthcare services, public and private, have a long way to go.

How can private healthcare providers enable patients to positively contribute and share their experiences?

What real-time services can best complement current healthcare provision and create a competitive edge for providers? 


Both the areas we’ve explored here demonstrate that people, whether patients or healthcare professionals, have more choice and control than ever before – but generally speaking they are using third-party platforms to inform those choices. The private healthcare sector needs to understand their role in this space and either create their own winning platforms that will boost patient and staff loyalty as well as create some much needed efficiencies – or work out how to collaborate and/or partner with existing models. Speed is of the essence: as the digital world evolves fast and whoever moves first will win the hearts and minds of patients and professionals who are looking for a modern, connected healthcare provider. 

 

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