Today's Disruptors in Healthcare – What You Need to Know

posted on Thursday, October 10, 2019

It continues to be no secret that the healthcare landscape continues to change -- and that change won’t be slowing down anytime soon. Competition in healthcare is nothing new. Rather, it’s the type of competition that is evolving -- the tech giants and venture capitalists entering the scene -- the mega mergers and the independent providers looking to disrupt legacy organizations.

The core business model is changing. We will see shifts in care settings, pricing transparency and consumerism. Primary care providers are seeing a decline as high as 15 to 20 percent in patients because patients are choosing not to have a primary care provider.

The overall theme that seems to ring true is one of disruptive healthcare. For healthcare systems and practices to survive, they are going to have to figure out where they fit in the world of fragmented healthcare; how to scale offerings, be more efficient, dominate and deliver a consumer experience. And this starts with a strong brand.

There are five disruptors we are seeing in healthcare today.

Value-based Care

Value-based care is a shift from fee-based care to one that is focused on health outcomes. Think outputs, not inputs. It’s no longer about volume and how many people we can get through the doors in a day, but rather improved patient health and wellness outcomes. Providers are being incentivized on patient outcomes. A lot of this is driven by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services who are demanding healthier outcomes and reduced costs. 

The Chief Strategy Officer at Spectrum Health said it best, “You’re going to see a health system that’s focused on human longevity and aspirational living versus one focused on misery and suffering.”

So let’s take a minute to talk about another disruptor tied to all of this and that is Payment Reform. CMS is requiring more transparency in pricing with online posting of prices for hospital procedures and stays.

We will see alternative payment models, bundled payments and more payer consolidation. As high-deductible plans continue to climb and insurance companies and healthcare systems negotiate, what will the future hold for patients?

Mergers and Consolidations

A second disruptor in healthcare is mergers and acquisitions. Mergers are up nearly 15 percent from last year. Did you know more than 60 percent of community hospitals belong to a health system? One-third of practices remain independent.

Why are providers joining other systems or leaving? Providers have been frustrated with the amount of time they are spending in the EHRs and behind their deks, rather than in front of patients. Some reports show that physicians are losing an average of $50,000 a year in busy work.

Venture Capital

Our next disruptor is an interesting one -- venture capitalists with deep pockets looking to re-energize healthcare with technology, innovations, increased market share and the ultimate customer experience. They are all about patient access and convenience. Nearly 300 venture capital investments can be seen in standalone urgent cares and ERs, and healthcare technology advancements.  


Think pharmacy clinics, retailer minute clinics, Amazon -- all helping to create more access. These retail clinics came about partly because of the Affordable Care Act, but more notably, the empowerment of patients who demand more freedom and choices for their care. Healthcare was falling behind while the world around us was seeing a rise in social and mobile networks, and consumers wanting on-demand services. Traditional healthcare groups lost touch with what their patients wanted. The other business and industry sectors were researching consumer behaviors and proactively collecting consumer data to use in marketing.


Healthcare has experienced the challenges in patient consumerism and its impact to healthcare. The top four factors driving consumerism are:

  1. Access
  2. Customer Experience
  3. Price
  4. Infrastructure

Three out of four Americans won’t choose a provider they can’t get into within a week. Some research shows that patients have to wait 23 to 24 days to get an appointment with a new primary care provider. Technology continues to explode. Offering online scheduling is no longer seen as a technology enhancement but a must. More and more patients want their providers to use and offer fitness and health wearables. Patients want to be able to share their health and wellness data.

A recent State of Consumerism Report outlined the top two patient desires for customer experience are more patient-friendly statements and better ways to communicate directly and in real time with providers. Only 48 percent of practices believe they have consumer-friendly statements. Forty percent of practices still don’t offer real-time options for patients to provide feedback.  

So as we consider these disruptors, what can healthcare marketers do differently? We need to be able to tell our story well in the context of what patients want. We need to tell how we can help, not “sell”. We need to always think of the patient first, not the procedure.

We need to be empathetic. We need to revisit our brands. Strengthen our brands. Do our market research and evolve, just as patients are evolving.

  1. healthcare trends
  2. mergers
  3. patient satisfaction
  4. value-based care