Connect with the author: Mike McGuire | LinkedIn

I read an article recently about a study conducted around strategies for managing uncertainties in a surgical waiting room. It got me thinking about how much uncertainty exists in every waiting room in a clinical setting. It also got me thinking, is the space we devote to waiting room really necessary??? To add to this confusion think about the following statistics.

Eighty percent (80%) of all humans own a mobile phone of some sort. Out of 5 billion mobiles, 1 billion are smart phones. Sixty percent (60%) of all humans (5.4 billion people) are active texters. In 2014, 561 billion texts were sent worldwide or 18.7 billion texts per day. The average email sent per day worldwide is 269 billion. Over the next 4 years, we will see an average increase in email traffic of 4.4% per year that will bring that total to 319.6 billion emails by 2021.

With all of this technology at our fingertips, why is there uncertainty, and so little transparency???

The patient experience of the future will be driven by interactive communication to not only the patient but also the patient’s loved ones. Clinical settings that do not grasp the concepts around texts and emails to provide timely information will not create the kind of experience that will breed the loyalty that the new world demands. Making patients and loved ones continue to fill out the same forms over and over again, asking the same information, is so yesterday and infuriating that it’s hard to comprehend.

The transformation of the patient experience begins with an understanding that patients/consumers are now spending their money, and they will not allow either their money or their time to be wasted. Care Delivery that is not organized around this new reality will find their competitive survival in jeopardy. The new world demands strategic thinking. Tactical solutions that do not address the organization’s ability to build brand loyalty will fall by the wayside like pet rocks and disco.

The time we spend pursuing healthcare should be reflected in the way we calculate health care expenditures, but its not. Alan Kruger, a Princeton economist, recently wrote an article on this subject. Kruger calculates that Americans over the age of 15 collectively spend 847 million hours waiting for medical services. If you count all health care related activities including time to travel, wait time, exam, and treatment time, taking meds, obtaining medical care for others, and paying the bills associated- the average American spends 1.1 hours of their week on healthcare. Older folks, like yours truly, spend twice the time as most age categories combined. Women spent 70% more time on health care activities than men as they are more inclined to take care of the extended family.

Kruger claims that if we just value all peoples time at the average hourly wage of production and nonsupervisory workers ($17.43), Americans spend the equivalent of $240 billion on our pursuit of health care. If we do not include the customer/patient’s time, we’re undercounting by 11%, the real cost of healthcare. Failing to account for this time makes our health system look more productive than it actually is…. The time we spend seeking, and receiving health care services is just as real as the dollars spent paying for it, and guess what, it has a lot to do with establishing brand loyalty.

At Jellyfish Health, we’re committed to thinking strategically. Yes, you can certainly buy pieces of our platform to perform key functions. The power of the platform however is its ability to enable that brand equity when deployed holistically.

Amazon started out as a digital bookstore at its inception but look at it today. Each care delivery organization has the potential to brand itself uniquely. The only thing holding them back is the ability to think beyond the product/service being provided, and focus on how the consumer wants to receive that service. Not everyone can be an Amazon. We can however, create an experience that will enable our customers to reward us with their loyalty.