Healthcare companies can learn from retailers

The retail industry has been in the midst of a huge transformation as business models change and technology advances. Layoffs, store closings, mall reconfigurations, and bankruptcies are major signs of the evolution, leaving us with many lessons to be learned.

Specifically, the healthcare industry should take note from what is happening in retail. Take data-driven retailers for example – like Amazon and Walmart.

A huge part of Walmart’s success is due to how they leverage the digital supply chain. This retail giant transformed the way other companies thought about data, making the data not just a byproduct of doing business, but as a commodity in its own right.

Their key to success is making their data flow through the entire journey, enriching it every step of the way. Walmart created a new model that was ultra-efficient and cut costs that were then passed along to customers.

Amazon has mastered creating that direct connection to their customers, resulting in the ability to collect massive amounts of data about them. By applying technology like AI, they provide a very personalized experience that creates customer connections, and in turn, loyalty.

Healthcare data is in silos:

For healthcare to progress to this level, patient data must be removed from silos. Data tends to reside in multiple places and within multiple departments. Non-clinical information like marketing data is almost always stored somewhere entirely different than the clinical data. This makes it extremely difficult to provide personalized care. In order to do so, providers need to be able to reach out to their own customers using first-party data.

By centralizing healthcare data, there would be an end-to-end view of the journey – just like in retail – enabling better service and care.

Most doctors can only see clinical data, but if they had access to what that patient was searching for online, or what type of provider content was being consumed, doctors could have a much better view of that patient.

Data silos also mean that marketers are not able to see information from clinical systems that could help them measure results or improve marketing messages so they are delivered to the right patient at the right time.

Combining all data into a single record could also allow predictive models to identify and intercept breakouts of the flu and possibly diseases. This would allow the medical community to practice proactive health care instead of reactive.

Healthcare as a whole must learn from retailers by investing in data management, and by removing the barriers that create this fragmented system in order to help create healthier lives for all of us.