Every individual has their own needs. Understanding the uniqueness of customers' needs to deliver value will help your healthcare services hold the heart of patients. Following the definition of Porter and Teisberg, value in the healthcare system is health outcomes/ the cost expended to achieve this condition. Hence, the value in this sector is multidimensional. For instance, besides the significant need for pain relief, a patient with acute arthritis will highly value the rapid access and reasonable cost. But the one with chronic disease such as diabetes mellitus will intend to purchase the independent tool that helps them self-monitor the condition in the long run because they need to live with it, maybe for the whole remaining life.
COVID-19 forces clinics and private hospitals to temporarily stop operation, but many hospitals and providers will have fewer resources when this pandemic is eradicated. They will not be able to provide all types of care to all patients. In addition, the government and employers' budgets will be reduced, forcing payors to redirect resources to providers and narrow networks that can achieve the most significant value for their healthcare dollar.
Observing or participating in the healthcare system fighting against COVID-19 will bring you the most practical vision to plan a backup strategy for the organization's post-pandemic preparation. There are 2 unmet needs in previous healthcare that are more highlighted in the pandemic:
1. The proper coordination of care among providers: Many patients are aware or even not aware of their certain risks when the providers are may not consistent within communication and coordination for the treatment plan (e.g., medical error). The reasons for this disconnection are multi-fractional, including the fact that some predominant organizational design is provider-centric instead of patient-centric. Whereas for the most condition, the adequate cares require the input from multiple providers. Regarding the services, patients want to minimize the number of visits among providers. In the COVID-19 situation, it's all about shortening and optimizing the pyramid treatment's effectiveness or connecting the telemedicine process to snatch the patients' life from the hand of death. Therefore, moving towards a service line approach can give an organization a strategic competitive advantage by providing a patient with specific condition care that is efficient, seamless, and cost-effective, with an overall better experience.
2. Prompt access to the healthcare system: This is unmet in many parts of countries. The urgent need for patients after COVID-19 will remain. For practices that want to maintain a competitive advantage having a precise phone number and mechanism to get patients in to see the appropriate provider can help meet these needs. And even from now on, those contact channels are the essential demands for patients and medical staff. From a management perspective, competing to deliver prompt access is an effective strategy that fulfills a unique value proposition (i.e., convenient care); from a clinical perspective, immediate access often leads to overall better clinical outcomes.
Besides focusing on the treatment of a disease is essential, providers should understand that there are other value propositions where they could achieve a competitive advantage (i.e., prompt access, coordinated care, positive experience).
Competitive advantage is achieved when an organization focuses on the unmet needs of patients based on particular conditions and successfully uniquely delivers those needs. Focusing on a unique service delivery area will help specialists avoid the commodity trap as the competition for resources increases, accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The healthcare clinic should understand the importance of transitioning from a volume mindset to a value mindset, leading to more patients with that medical condition returning. The Covid-19 pandemic will only accelerate this transformation further in healthcare.
Source: J Orthopaedic Experience & Innovation (2020)