Nucleus for Healthcare has arrived at the inflection point in consumer-centric healthcare delivery

Today, NTT Data Services announced a new alliance among five HealthTech companies to deliver a completely virtual healthcare experience to America’s health systems. With Nucleus for Healthcare, NTT Data has forged together the foundational elements required to create a digital front door for their patients.

Enli is honored to be a part of this venture. From telehealth to care coordination to revenue cycle management, our partners are among the most admired companies in their categories. Just as important is timing; there is clear evidence that COVID-19 has pushed providers, patients, and payers to the point where a digital framework for care delivery is the obvious solution to the industry’s most pressing infrastructure problems.

It took a pandemic to catalyze the shift to digital

The COVID-19 Pandemic has exposed the weak points in the US healthcare system. From a macroeconomic perspective, the industry has been reluctant to embrace the eCommerce models that have reshaped every business in America.

In his observations of the healthcare industry, author and economist Clay Christensen concluded the only way to catalyze innovation in healthcare is to change the payment paradigm. Every participant in the value chain must be compensated for value-creation rather than consumption of goods, services and resources.

Much to Christensen’s credit, the early adopters of value-based care are the ones best positioned to thrive now and in the years to come. But why has it taken a global pandemic to melt the ice caps that have frozen real technology adoption?

The answer is the patient-consumer.  COVID-19 has changed consumer attitudes in five key ways, which, according to McKinsey & Co., will not revert to pre-pandemic norms once the virus subsides.[i]

Three of these new trends are critical for healthcare providers:

  • The homebody economy has emerged: Most consumers do not yet feel comfortable resuming normal activities outside of their homes. More than 75% say the easing of government restrictions will not be adequate reassurance; they will wait for guidance from medical authorities and vaccines.
  • There’s been a shock to loyalty. The pandemic has motivated consumers to try new products, services and distribution methods when their favorites were in limited supply or unavailable. Convenience is the key driver. McKinsey expects 60% of consumers will continue with their new behaviors post-crisis.
  • There is a flight to digital and omni-channel. Most categories have seen a 10 percent growth in their online customer traffic during the pandemic. Healthcare, too, has seen a dramatic increase in virtual care. According to McKinsey, “during the pandemic, adult primary care showed smaller declines in total visits than surgical/procedural specialties. These smaller declines may reflect the fact that more primary care and behavioral health visits can be accomplished by evaluation and management only.” These encounters can be done remotely, which explains the dramatic uptick in telehealth.

The empowered patient has arrived – with a business case

This Pandemic is wearing heavy on the US economy. Eventually, it will reside. Will healthcare systems do what retailers have done and reduce their investment in brick and mortar? Will they follow the example of service companies and automate customer interactions? Will they recognize, as manufacturers have, that no company can take their customers for granted. Will they augment their transactional relationships with subscriptions and service contracts?

We believe that healthcare providers will make the transformation because their patients expect it.   Consumer attitudes toward personal health and safety, combined with continued adoption of value-based care, makes investments in patient health information technology a strategic imperative.

The business case for a healthcare eCommerce platform is surrounding us. Providers are responding to the tidal wave in demand for online access. Ninety-one percent of providers surveyed by McKinsey said they will invest in patient engagement technology in the next 5-10 years, compared to just 36% before COVID-19. Ninety-three percent say they will invest in remote monitoring.

We believe that Nucleus for Healthcare is the right solution arriving at the inflection point in US healthcare transformation. We look forward to helping healthcare providers meet the demands of the new, virtual primary care experience.

[i] The author has relied on published research and opinion of McKinsey & Co. for the preparation of this article including, “Telehealth: A quarter-trillion-dollar post-COVID-19 reality?,” May 29, 2020;  “Virtual health: A look at the next frontier of care delivery,” June 8, 2020; and “Survey: US consumer sentiment during the coronavirus crisis,” July 18, 2020.