Envisioning a landscape that’s new and energized
Imagine a world where the very best of healthcare is available 24/7 right at your doorstep - all of it customized, hyper-connected and lightning fast. Imagine a cutting-edge healthcare platform that could offer all this and more. While the Omni-channel model for modern businesses may have garnered momentum primarily as a tool, its ideas and strategies are now rapidly expanding across organizations and industries.
Today, leading healthcare providers are aware of what they really need to do - deliver a multi-faceted approach that puts you in the center and builds a universe of services, products and solutions - all uniquely tweaked to your most pressing needs.
Understanding the transformation at hand
Before we discuss the impacts and effects of the Omni-channel approach, it is important to understand how new-age customers/users are consistently demanding a refurbished service portfolio. A typical patient today likes access to healthcare and wellness support anytime, anywhere (via multiple platforms and devices such as smartphones, tablets, personal computers (PCs) and in-person). He/she also wants a specific calendar or logbook maintained for prescription updates, doctor visits, dosage reminders and drugs/supplies delivery. In effect, today’s patients demand healthcare providers to break down the traditional barriers of cost, reach, timeliness, engagement and availability.
On the other hand, healthcare service provider are also forced to re-think traditional methods of engagement. New systems, an entirely fresh plethora of services, connectivity, sustained support and 24/7 availability is the need of the hour. Further, tabulating and evaluating data on patient habits, behavior patterns, preferences to create a seamless service pipeline that’s totally in-sync with the customer is has become critical.
Introducing the system - the nuts and bolts of it all
Healthcare players are currently dabbling with several new modes of delivery and optimized service quality. Here are a few common changes that’s happening right at this time, around you:
- Single portal for integrated services from doctors, retailers and pharmacies
- Data digitization and assimilation from physicians’ offices to pharmacies, to insurance companies and retailers
- Virtual access to doctors, remote patient monitoring and management leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) frameworks
- Simplified payment processes, including delivery at home, price comparison and online order systems
Managing roadblocks - challenges and what to do about them
There’s no doubt on the massive impact of Omni-channel strategies. However, as is the case with a change of guard in any sphere, there are adversities on the path, skepticism and a certain degree of uncertainty about its smooth implementation. For starters, demand planning will become increasingly difficult as customer touch-points, alternatives and requirements keep extending rapidly. The boundaries between different customer segments, the various service-silos will blur and at times, intersect - indicating the need for a smart, agile and highly efficient supply and demand management program. Cross-channel synchronization of product and pricing options, sales promotion and other dimensions will obviously assume tremendous importance. Healthcare providers must therefore initiate the change by adopting robust and large-scale IT infrastructure revitalization - eradicating outmoded systems and introducing smarter and sharper IT mechanisms that could address all the above challenges.
Taking the plunge - why Omni-channel is the way to go
Many healthcare providers are still wondering what’s the best way forward - whether to go full out, or refrain altogether, or take a middle path. While there’s no straightforward answer, what’s essential is to accept the new order of things and remodel oneself in tandem with evolving customer expectations. As mentioned, organizations must first assess their IT-readiness; in doing so, they could map out their gradual Omni-channel journey and accordingly seek to create a resilient IT infrastructure capable of taking on the dynamic customer landscape. In conclusion, here’s a compendium of the overall Omni-channel paradigm and what organizations must keep in mind to effectively flesh out the model: (Refer to Figure 1 below).