Over the past decade, the move to systemness has spread across the health care industry mainly as a result of mergers, acquisitions and the increasing incorporation of employed physicians. But, if you talk to the average consumer, you’d be hard-pressed to find one with a clear understanding of what the benefits are, and what systemness is supposed to mean for their experience.

At Monigle, we’ve been calling this the “Systemness Conundrum.” Despite putting in the time, resources and effort to build these connected brands, many systems still struggle to communicate the benefits in a way that resonates with consumers. Worse yet, in many cases, they fail to deliver on the promises of consistency and coordination, which people experience from systems outside of healthcare (e.g. Amazon, Uber, Marriott, etc.)—resulting in understandably frustrated audiences.

Earlier this month, Monigle’s Dave Middendorf, Director of Insights & Strategy and Emily Kagan Trenchard, Vice President of Digital & Innovations Strategy for Northwell Health, presented at the SHSMD Conference in Nashville to discuss systemness and share some of the strategies Northwell Health has been using to deliver better experiences to their consumers. In particular, they chatted about Northwell Health’s Digital Consumer Experience Strategy—an initiative Northwell Health and Monigle partnered on with the goal to transform their digital ecosystem and better align brand and experience.

Takeaways from SHSMD Conference

    1. It’s time to start caring for people in a digital world

Systemness promises convenience and ease—and today, consumers expect those experiences to come through digitally. Yet, as Dave and Emily discussed, the health care industry lags far behind when it comes to digital touchpoints across the board. That’s why Northwell Health developed a Digital Consumer Experience Strategy as a path to creating both convenience and connection with their consumers.

To do this, Northwell and Monigle mapped the digital ecosystem alongside the overall consumer experience to understand the biggest challenges, pain points and opportunities. This framework guided and supported the development of Northwell’s new digital environment—with naming and voice helping to reinforce the core brand strategy along the way.

“If we don’t digitize ourselves, Amazon and Apple will do it for us. That’s our competitor.” Noted Emily, emphasizing the importance of adapting to today’s digital-first landscape. “Other industries think about brand and technology as pervasive and simultaneous,” explained Dave. “It’s time for health care systems to take control of their digital destiny.”

    1. Research pinpoints what you need to prioritize in a digital experience ecosystem

Building a digital ecosystem is an expensive undertaking—but in-depth research helped prioritize efforts. Qualitative and quantitative consumer insights determined which digital features are expected, which ones are essential, and which ones are most likely to make a meaningful impact for consumers. That way, Northwell was able to focus their resources towards the items and touchpoints that have the biggest and broadest effect on experience, choice and brand perceptions.

Understanding latent motivators was key to building a digital strategy that delivered the features and experiences that consumers didn’t yet know they wanted. These insights prevented the team from thinking just about “what could we build, versus what should we build that people really need” says Emily. In addition to thorough research, Northwell was able to streamline their costs and process using a strategic approach to digital concept testing before investing in an official build. Rather than creating a new build for every test, we used conceptual designs—a strategy that saved resources to be spent on improving the experience and a “hugely helpful tip” according to one session attendee.

    1. “Convenience is caring, and convenience can be innovative, too”

At the end of the day, Dave and Emily were both excited about the performance of the Digital Consumer Experience Strategy at Northwell health, and adamant about the opportunity for digital experiences to help health care systems deliver on promises of convenience, ease and better care. While seemingly basic, these elements are exactly what consumers reported seeking from their experiences. “We needed to build the basics to repair the broken promises. That is what our consumers are saying, and what we need to do [as health care leaders]. Ease and convenience are basics, but they are also a form of care” said Dave.

But, in order to take it to the next level, everyone has to get on board. “You cannot buy digital transformation off the shelf,” said Emily “Digital change is culture change. You can have the best online scheduling program, but if doctors don’t open up their calendars nothing will change. You have to get buy-in from everyone.”

We hope you enjoyed reading this recap of our “Convenience is Caring” session. If you’d like a copy of the full presentation deck, please reach out directly to Kim Hofland, Senior Director of Health Care Marketing at khofland@monigle.com.

Kim Hofland
September 27, 2019 By Kim Hofland