Customer Advocacy in a Complex Healthcare Environment

Technology vendors, especially those working with health systems and hospitals, can be frustrated by healthcare providers’ perception that adopting essential technologies — including virtual care solutions — is insurmountably difficult. Several characteristics of the healthcare marketplace play a role in this perception and in the resulting delay of moving forward with these technologies.

We know that healthcare is complicated. Technology adoption by providers is intrinsically tricky since the buyers (IT teams, supply chain, procurement committees), the end users (clinicians), the consumers (clinicians and patients), and the payers may all be different entities with incentives that are not mutually aligned. In fact, in many cases, their motivations oppose each other. Patient safety and evidence of improved outcomes are other considerations that virtual care vendors (and their products) face. Additionally, governing bodies and state and federal regulators have their own requirements that come into play.

It’s essential that we recognize these stresses and position our products and solutions in the sliver of these stakeholders’ overlapping incentives. Even if we can’t address all their concerns and motivations initially, sharing a vision and strategy that acknowledges these pressures is critical to customer success and the sustainability of a virtual care solution.

Our customers need to be confident that virtual care solutions will bridge diverging incentives. We can build this confidence by engaging with them post-sale in their virtual care journey to ensure its evolution, sustainability, and scalability. We must look beyond our product and technology success and help ensure that virtual care-enabled clinical programs can improve patient outcomes, meet compliance requirements, and increase return on investment (ROI) — measured through well-defined metrics — and that clinicians can seamlessly navigate their workflows empowered by the technology. We need to be a partner to customers on their virtual care journey. This type of customer relationship yields demonstrable success for the buyer, and can also drive innovation and stickiness for the solution provider.

Developing organic long-term customer and clinician advocacy by mindfully addressing stakeholder incentives will help consolidate this “technology provider-as-partner” advantage. Additionally, leveraging best practices from virtual care innovators by using replicable models of program architecture, providing research-based and locally relevant differentiators, and demonstrating value using ROI metrics and outcomes creates differentiated value and enduring customer relationships.

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