Who Will Win Consumer Healthcare?
The answer may surprise you
Many leaders of industry are competing to create a new consumer healthcare experience, with a focus on digitizing healthcare. And yes, healthcare needs to catch up with the digital revolution, but creating consumer digital experiences for something as tedious as health is a bit more complicated than simply creating an app for your phone. Healthcare suffers from a narrative that no one wants to be a part of. From the pedantic 15 minute clinician-patient interactions, to the punitive prior authorization process, to the pervasive fragmentation of care policy, our story of healthcare is broken. Digitization won’t be the simple fix we seek.
When we envision a healthcare experience we all want to be a part of, we must be bold. And as consumerization of healthcare becomes the future, an unlikely convergence of health and entertainment peaks beyond the horizon. In order to change the narrative of healthcare, we need an experience that is easy, engaging and empowering. We need it to be fan-worthy.
What Is Fan-Worthy?
When something is fan-worthy, it’s an experience you want to be a part of again and again. Looking towards entertainment, a fan-worthy experience is participatory for the audience, encourages co-creation and most importantly, is driven by story. Take Star Trek for example. The nearly 60 year old entertainment franchise was saved from extinction by its fans. Fans who took their beloved sci-fi story and made it their own — through conventions, creations, and continued play. Star Trek fans immersed themselves in the world of space exploration, continuing the story even after the screen faded to black. A fan-worthy experience, be it in entertainment or healthcare, is one where people are in a story they love and feel empowered to keep continuing it.
What Does This Look Like?
So if consumer healthcare must be fan-worthy to succeed, what would it look like? Let’s look at the current consumer healthcare competition. While Big Tech and Big Retail battle it out, a third category is emerging: entertainment. Entertainment provides the trojan horse for healthcare to be consumer-friendly and fan-worthy. The companies that lean into entertainment to create a new healthcare experience will have an advantage and for those companies who already have entertainment lines of business, they have the opportunity of a lifetime to change healthcare.
Here are some of the companies that could win consumer healthcare with some help from entertainment:
With their recent news about getting back into entertainment by offering streaming to its members, Walmart is taking the Amazon bull by the horn. Walmart has been rolling out a new primary healthcare offering for its members years before Amazon acquired One Medical. Having just inked a new partnership with Paramount+, this lifestyle brand will soon transform shopping, watching and care into a consumer health flywheel. Imagine you’re watching an episode of Yellowstone on Paramount+ which you get as part of your Walmart+ membership. As soon as the episode ends, a notification is sent to your phone reminding you that you’re due for an annual exam. With a click of a button you schedule an appointment at a local Walmart Care Clinic. After your appointment, you pick up the week’s groceries inside the Walmart store. And when you get home, you realize you forgot your prescription. But not to worry, it’s delivered to your house within 2 hours, thanks to your Walmart+ membership. Watching an episode of TV just became a part of your healthcare experience.
This telco would benefit from leaning into its entertainment arm NBCUniversal to help make inroads in the competitive aging-in-place market. In partnership with Independence Blue Cross, Comcast is betting on Quil, an at-home monitoring platform that uses smart TVs and sensors, to level up its telco infrastructure into must-have home products. But by integrating their content pipeline with at-home care, Comcast will find more adults receptive to their health offerings when it’s as easy and convenient as watching The Office. Smart TVs, sensors and sticky content will be the key here for a fan-worthy experience.
TikTok’s commerce potential has finally been recognized, but with the surprise news that parent company ByteDance has just acquired a hospital chain in China, a new evolution of consumer healthcare is upon us. While TikTok provides a plethora of entertaining health UGC, this social media darling could make healthcare as easy as swipe, click and go. ByteDance’s acquisition is likely a diversification strategy, but we cannot overlook the social commerce prowess of TikTok, especially as consumer healthcare evolves to require more socially driven interactions.
Healthcare Needs Entertainment
When looking at the future of consumer health, we must not overlook the power of entertainment to transform the current healthcare narrative of futility into a fan-worthy experience. By comparing today’s consumer health competitors with their entertainment offerings, we can see where the silos are ripe for disruption.
Opportunities for fan-worthy healthcare are here. We just need to be bold enough to seize them.