How to get consumers to seek out your hospital? Give them the Amazon experience

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Healthcare costs are crippling our nation. After payroll, healthcare is the 2nd or 3rd biggest expense for employers, and is the fastest growing of any expense, regardless of the employer’s size. Even large corporations cannot sustain continued rises in healthcare costs with no stop in sight.

Employees are suffering too. HealthCareDive reported on the results of a new, eHealth survey that shows small business health plans’ deductibles rising significantly from 2017 to 2018, with the “average individual deductible increased by 14% to $3,140 in 2018 (and by 24$ since 2015).”[1]

Employers are taking matters into their own hands. Walmart has created Centers of Excellence and other companies are deciding where to locate their plants, or rather not locate them, depending upon the cost of healthcare in different states. Take, for example, the Michigan auto industry. Becker’s Hospital Review reports devastating news for Indiana, and quoted one executive as first reported in the Indianapolis Star: “’We have plants all over the country, and whenever we’re talking about opening a new one, do you know what I say? I say, ‘ABI’ […] ‘Anywhere but Indiana. On average we pay $2,200 for every worker’s emergency room visit in Indiana. In Michigan it’s $800. The difference there is the profit margin on one car.”[2]

Walmart has disrupted healthcare with its Centers of Excellence. In an effort to give employees the highest care possible while at the same time reducing costs, Walmart partners with distinguished hospitals such as John Hopkins, Cleveland Clinic and Geisinger, to name just a few, for high dollar procedures such as hip and knee replacements. Other businesses are taking notice, according to an article in Becker’s Hospital Review. Lisa Woods, senior director of U.S. Health Care at Walmart, co-authored a feature story for Harvard Business Review and recently spoke at the 16th Annual World Health Care Congress, “detailing the design, goals and outcomes of the corporate giant’s Centers of Excellence Program, which launched in 2018 and is available to the 1.1 million people on Walmart’s medical plan.”[3]

Of special note, though, is the dare Woods gave to hospitals at the recent Congress regarding advertising emergency room wait times on billboards. The ER certainly has its place, but it’s the most expensive healthcare available. It’s widely known that many visits to the ER are for non-emergent issues where treatment would be just as effective at an urgent care center or retail clinic, and much less expensive to the employer and employee. According to Becker’s article, Woods strongly suggested that hospitals remove such billboards. “I’m going to challenge you all to go home, talk to your hospitals and tell them to take it down,” she told attendees during the keynote panel Sunday evening. “We talked to [our local] hospital about why that’s not a good idea. It’s about communication and collaboration with the community and the hospitals. We don’t have those billboards any more in northwest Arkansas.”[4]

Hospitals who aren’t addressing the reality of consumerism in their world are literally in denial. Consumerism isn’t coming to healthcare. It’s here. And it’s staying. If you’ve read any of our blogs, you know how strongly we believe that giving consumers the Amazon experience in healthcare is the answer to helping people reduce healthcare costs.

Turns out, we aren’t alone. In fact, “one-half of Americans thinks buying health care should feel like an Amazon experience,” according to Jane Sarasohn-Kahn, author of HealthConsuming. Sarasohn-Kahn writes: “Health consumers are hungry for Amazon’s brand of transparency, convenience, and streamlined interactions for medical care. The Amazon Prime-ing of the U.S. consumer has raised peoples’ expectations of what health care services could be: personalized, customized, anticipatory, immediate or on-schedule, and convenient – where we live, work, play, pray, learn and even drive.”

With the growing trends of U.S. businesses taking charge of their healthcare spend, and the growth of “consumerism” in healthcare, what are you doing to help employers and employees to reduce the cost of healthcare? After all, employers and employees are consumers in every other aspect of their lives. They don’t just shut down their ability to shop for deals when they are faced with healthcare choices.

Do you, as a provider, want to be like Indiana? Where people choose “anywhere but your hospital?” Of course not.

But what are you actually doing to help lower costs? How are you helping consumers get the most out of their deductible dollars?

People want the Amazon experience. And you can give it to them. But you need the technology infrastructure to provide this. Portals are not the answer. Let us repeat: portals are not the answer. Hate is a strong word, but people hate portals. And, while powerful, your EMRs aren’t equipped to give consumers a retail experience like Amazon. But HealthQRS can.

HealthQRS allows you to offer an entire online retail experience with one, easy-to-use platform. And we have developed the only complete e-commerce platform for healthcare on the market. HealthQRS is an e-commerce platform that you can brand for your hospital and that will keep consumers in-network. Our ecommerce platform gives people a full, rich retail experience in healthcare. When they login to the app on their smartphones, tablets or PCs, they see your logo and they think you are providing this experience. And you ARE providing the experience … HealthQRS is providing the platform.

How do we do all of this?

Our solution is built with complicated algorithms that use real-time data: the actual payer contracts by provider + insurance verification information + charity + other business rules to provide consumers with a true out-of-pocket per patient per procedure. HealthQRS interfaces with virtually any existing practice management system and electronic medical record. We have over 30 modules that work independently or all together depending upon your needs to provide a holistic, seamless, total experience for the consumer from start to finish. We combine navigation, the capability to make an appointment, referral management (if needed), payment management and so much more than we can list here.

Our solution is simple to use. We invite you to see for yourself with this 2-minute video of the HealthQRS price transparency tool. Click on this link, then you’ll be instructed to download and watch: https://s3.amazonaws.com/hqrs.media/_misc/Screen+Recording+2018-11-29+at+17.30.45.mov

Developing a solution of this magnitude didn’t happen overnight. We started with the consumer experience in mind and spent years drawing on the knowledge of best-of-breed experts to perfect, fine tune and put together this complicated, yet complete solution for medical e-commerce.

In fact, HealthQRS has over 15 years of experience developing healthcare retail experiences for people and our founders have over 50 combined years of e-commerce experience. We also invite you to watch our user-friendly app video that you can use to win consumers as well as our point-of-service solution video that may interest you. You can also check out our E-Commerce Medical Marketplace Flyer for more information.

Contact us right now to schedule a personalized demo. We can get you entire system set up in a matter of weeks. Looking forward to helping you soon.

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[1] Les Masterson, “Deductibles soar in small business health insurance market,” HealthCareDive, April 29, 2019, https://www.healthcaredive.com/news/deductibles-soar-in-small-business-health-insurance-market/553583/

[2] Morgan Haefner, “’Anywhere but Indiana,’ – Why employers are avoiding hospitals in the Hoosier state,” Becker’s Hospital Review, April 30, 2019, https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/strategy/anywhere-but-indiana-why-employers-are-avoiding-hospitals-in-the-hoosier-state.html?origin=rcme&utm_source=rcme

[3] Molly Gamble, “Walmart has no shelf space for hospitals’ shoddy healthcare,” Becker’s Hospital Review, April 30, 2019, https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/strategy/walmart-has-no-shelf-space-for-hospitals-shoddy-healthcare.html?origin=payere&utm_source=payere

[4] Gamble, “Walmart,” Becker’s Hospital Review, https://www.beckershospitalreview.com/strategy/walmart-has-no-shelf-space-for-hospitals-shoddy-healthcare.html?origin=payere&utm_source=payere

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