I had a great conversation with a healthcare executive last week about segmenting and targeting new patients. When you think about acquiring new patients, you can bucket them into four segments. Patients that care about...
- Brand -- they want to see a doctor that is employed or affiliated with a prominent hospital or health system.
- Facilities -- they want nice, clean offices in a good neighborhood.
- Convenience -- they want easy access to good doctors near their home and to get in and out quickly
- Cost -- they want to pay a smaller co-pay, receive less expensive services, etc.
We agreed that very roughly 25% of patients prioritize brand, 35% prioritize facilities, 35% prioritize convenience and only 5% prioritize cost.
My personal take is that the fastest growing segments are the cost and convenience segments. Federal and state governments are providing a variety of incentives that are driving patients toward the lower cost providers, and I think we'll see that trend continue. And just like most industries that begin to move online (healthcare is a laggard in this area) consumers will begin to value convenience and ease of access more and more.
And I think it is the brand segment that is shrinking. As quality and cost become more and more transparent to patients, brands will become less important. If a patient finds a doctor online that went to a decent medical school, that has good reviews from other patients, and good availability, the brand that they're affiliated will matter less and less.