By Dan Stanek
The COVID-19 crisis has changed the trajectory and plans for many businesses into the future. While the impact on retail, travel, hospitality and food service are widely publicized, the impact on healthcare has also been quite substantial. Like retail, some trends were occurring already, and are now accelerated through this crisis.
As we look to the future, we’ve identified trends that are likely to become part of the new normal in healthcare.
Acceleration of Telehealth
One of the services that has changed for good is telehealth. With digital tools and virtual opportunities, many doctors have taken advantage of this time by offering telehealth visits, with offices being closed. It works out well for patients, because they don’t have to leave their home and get consultation and treatment. This service, however, has not been fully integrated as part of the customer journey. Patients need more information and guidance to understand when they should look to telehealth and when they should see a provider in person.
- Considerations for Healthcare – how can providers deliver the comfort and familiarity of an in-office visit via telehealth? How do providers enable more services through diagnostic tools and equipment that can be made available to patients in the home?
- Considerations for Retail – how can brands develop and broaden their telehealth offerings in order to offer convenience for their customers? Should my store offer telehealth in-store, provided the store can use equipment to help aid in the person’s visit?
Urgency for Urgent Care
The acceleration of telehealth of late has coincided with the deceleration of primary care visits. With the added competition of telehealth, urgent care must take advantage of the opportunity to expand its services. There are ways that urgent care can differentiate via its physical locations that telehealth can’t offer (at least, for now).
- Considerations for Healthcare – what’s your niche? Are your current patients interested in certain services that you don’t currently offer? Should you consider ways to bring in a new subset of patients through new offerings and a shift in positioning? Can you create a loop of accessibility with telehealth?
- Considerations for Retail – As a result of COVID-19, many consumers have had to push back their primary care visits, which could be a scheduling nightmare in the coming months for primary care physicians. Urgent cares have a big opportunity to help fill the void for consumers looking for care.
Reevaluating Retail Clinics
With consumers hyper-focused on their health and the convenience of one-stop shopping also being top of mind, retailers should reconsider their retail clinic strategy. Established brands like CVS and Walmart have a big head start in this space, but that doesn’t mean the opportunity has passed.
- Considerations for Retail – can retail players afford not to have an offering in the retail clinic space? Smart retailers will seek to offer health services in ways that are consistent with their brand offerings. As consumers continue to access healthcare online, retail clinics can fill the void with health services that are not available virtually OR retail clinics can add telehealth services in-store.
The wellness market – with its wide-ranging definitions – has already been booming. We anticipate that it will grow even more. Consumers have much greater awareness and general interest in personal health. Stress, mental health, and sleep issues will likely be areas of greater focus for the foreseeable future. In general, wellness will be a consideration throughout people’s lives as they consider where to go, what to eat, and how they interact with others. Vulnerability and immunity are part of the vernacular now, so the wellness market should dial up the messaging and offerings in those areas.
- Consideration for Healthcare – it is time for healthcare providers to truly make the move from sick care to true “health” care.
- Considerations for Retail – because wellness will be on people’s minds, stores should increase their wellness-related offerings and improve positioning from a wellness perspective.
With our experience in retail and healthcare, we’re looking to help usher in a new era for both industries. This era is consumer-focused and dedicated to helping people live healthy lives, as opposed to sticking with the old guard model of sick care. WD has expertise that spans from strategy and design to operations, digital, and architecture & engineering. We’d be happy to talk to you about your needs as this new era unfolds. Contact our Health & Wellness leader, Dan Stanek at Dan.Stanek@wdpartners.com.