With the growing presence of non-traditional companies like Amazon, Walmart, and CVS in healthcare, patients have more options than ever for where—and how—they receive care.

If providers want to stay competitive, they need to be able to adjust in the areas where companies like Amazon excel, such as utilizing new technology to communicate with patients. These are “organizations that really, really understand consumer preferences, and how to be nimble,” said Ben Hall, director of product strategy at Formativ Health. By failing to incorporate the digital technologies that patients have come to expect in other industries—such as retail, finance, and travel—traditional healthcare providers risk losing their patients to more technologically savvy disruptors.

According to a recent Harris poll, 90 percent of patients said they would not stay with a practice that doesn’t provide the digital experience they seek. Yet that poll found that only 9 percent of those surveyed used an online portal to schedule their medical appointments, and 76 percent still relied on a phone call to schedule an appointment with their physician.

“The harsh reality is that healthcare is at least 10 years behind most other consumer-facing industries in terms of digital convenience and functionality,” said David Harvey, chief technology officer of Formativ Health. “So hospitals need to cover a lot of ground quickly.”

How can providers catch up? Laura Semlies is leading the charge at Northwell Health, where she is the Vice President of digital patient experience. With 23 hospitals and 650 outpatient clinics, change at Northwell won’t happen overnight. Provider fragmentation, complex payment and funding practices, and compliance and security concerns all complicate systematic change. But the traditionally risk-averse mentality of many providers and practitioners also needs to be adjusted.

“Really, what you’re talking about is a cultural transformation and that can be every bit as challenging as the technology part,” Semlies said. “That’s why it is important to develop change management strategies that can ease the transition for staff.”

For Northwell, that means partnering with Formativ Health to transform its patient experience, starting by pushing out capabilities in patient access, billing, and patient forms. The ultimate goal is to use digital technologies to create a personalized relationship with each patient, leading to better care and long-term patient loyalty.

“If you want to get disrupted, keep doing what you’re doing. If you want to be part of the disruption, innovate and become part of the change,” Semlies said. “We believe that we can lead and innovate, and be part of that disruption, and so that’s our goal. Let’s disrupt ourselves.”

To learn more about Northwell’s redesign and best practices for competing with disruptors, check out our white paper “Building the Digital Front Door.” ADD LINK