It’s time to create a more human-centered approach to health care


For a health care brand to succeed in today’s world, it has to treat patients like people. No longer a best-practice, a human approach is the expectation of consumers across the country.

The new benchmark for truly excellent health care experiences is treating patients not just like people, but like individuals. And that means recognizing what makes them unique, and tailoring their care and communication accordingly.

Individualization is the number one emotional motivator of human behavior in the health care industry.* Simply put: if people believe they will be cared about on an individual level by a health care brand, they will be much more likely to use and recommend that system to others.

But to treat patients like individuals – and to offer more individualized brand experiences – we need to first understand them. To do that, we have to stop simply thinking of them as patients and instead begin to think about them as consumers. That means looking at patients as holistic human beings that consume health care based on a whole variety of attitudes and experiences formed long before they walk through our doors to be treated.

People consume health care, but health care isn’t what defines them. And just as health care doesn’t define them, neither does their gender, age or race. But if you look at the average health care brand’s definition of their audience, you’d be hard-pressed to find statistics beyond these basic demographic characteristics. Like many other categories, the health care industry has fallen into the trap of defining people based on a surface-level understanding of what they are, without a clue about what they need.

The most effective health care brands fulfill human needs—the stuff that’s underneath an individual’s basic description. While these needs can be physical or functional, they are primarily cultural, social and emotional. It is essential to understand all these needs, how they interact with one another and what the opportunity is for health care brands to fulfill them.

That’s why we developed the first-ever national consumer health care segmentation based on individuals’ attitudes and behaviors—because we think it’s time that health care brands get past the surface-level assumptions, and start building experiences based on what people really need.

To do so, we interviewed nearly 18,000 insured Americans** with a single objective to better understand them as people, not just patients. The insights we’ve uncovered have the power to help health care brands create more meaning, relevance and value in their lives.

The segmentation identified seven significantly differentiated groups of people who share common values, needs and challenges when it comes to their health care. Each segment has its own unique priorities and motivations when it comes to their health. By understanding these diverse groups, and the relationship they each seek with their health care provider we were able to uncover new ways to engage and reach people on their terms.

To get to know each of these segments on a personal level—and learn about their unique needs from health care brands—you can access our full segmentation report. We want you to use these revealing new insights to leverage opportunities for more individualized experiences that will help your health care brand break through the basics, and take the lead in creating a more human-centered approach.


*Source: Humanizing Brand Experience, vol.2 Healthcare Edition 2019

**Health care decision-makers for the household, with private, Medicare or Military health insurance. Mix of gender, income, and age. Sourced from panel sample

Grant Mason
August 15, 2019 By Grant Mason