Behind Retailers' Healthcare Strategies, Operational Know-How

John Commins, February 26, 2014

Some retailers, reasoning that they are "smart about efficiency and productivity and standardization and using digital technology and getting closer to the customers, believe that they can… really change the way that care is delivered and paid for in this country," says one analyst.

In Part 2 of an interview with HealthLeaders Media, analysts Vaughn Kauffman, Health Industries Principal at PwC and Ceci Connolly, the Managing Director of PwC's Health Research Institute discussed their views on what we might see in the coming months and years as retail businesses carve out a larger role for themselves in healthcare delivery. The following is an edited transcript. See Part 1.

HLM: It sounds like you believe that traditional providers could learn a lot from retailers.

Kauffman: They are actually. Over the last several years I've seen more and more recruitment happening outside of the traditional healthcare area at the senior level. [This is] to try to drive some of this change and… anchor their business and their operation where the consumer is at the center of that model as opposed to outside and navigating in.

We are seeing it all the way through not only in terms of the plans being designed, [but] all through operations, and even how the revenue cycle process is looked at. They're looking for ways to engage the consumer beyond the few hours they might spend in the hospital.

How do they become more relevant in their day-to-day lives, not so much Big Brother-like but in ways they can help inform decisions of health and fitness, etc. and become more of an advocate for their health rather than a treatment center for certain issues.

See Also: Retail Medicine Syncs with High-Deductible Health Plans

Connolly: On the flip side, healthcare can get complicated. Think about patients with multiple chronic conditions. They need really good health coaches or care coordinators. They need a whole team around them. It would be naïve to suggest that now everybody can head to the retail store and manage their health on their own and it is all going to go great.

John Commins

John Commins is a senior editor at HealthLeaders Media.


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