Jay Sheehy on the Future of a Consumer-Driven Healthcare Industry

Ideally, the healthcare industry needs to be more consumer driven, so that solutions and programs are built with the patient in mind, said Jay Sheehy, senior vice president of product innovation at EmblemHealth.

Ideally, the healthcare industry needs to be more consumer driven, so that solutions and programs are built with the patient in mind, said Jay Sheehy, senior vice president of product innovation at EmblemHealth. However, he said that while the industry is on its way there, there is still much work to be done.

Transcript (slightly modified)

Is consumer engagement the same as healthcare consumerism?

I think you could probably argue that both ways. The way I would answer would be going back to the fact that I think in healthcare, we’re still learning what the consumer really wants. Our goal and aspirationally is to be consumer obsessed. If you put the consumer and build everything around them and understand them better, you’re going to be very successful.

But we’re nowhere near that. We’re on a journey to get there. So to me, when you ask about consumerism in healthcare, you talk about consumer-directed programs, they are all different interim strategies to really understand the consumer and get the consumer engaged. And that’s what we’re really trying to learn. And then what you also find out is there are people who are already engaged, there are people who are engageable, and there are people who are never going to be engageable or take accountability. So how do you really deploy strategies and solutions to really address each of those different groups?

Do you actually see healthcare becoming like Amazon? Is it possible?

I think in the industry, we need to strive to be like those companies and understand the consumer well. I think we’re dealing with a far more complicated environment. It’s far more regulated than any of the retail industries but we need to really try to move down that path, maybe not as quickly or as far as some of the true retail companies but that’s the direction you really want to go in because that’s what the consumer expects.

It’s not what we think, it’s really how they want to be dealt with, and how they want to act, and the solutions they’re asking for. So again, we’re dealing with a far more complicated environment but that should not prohibit us from having those aspirational goals to really understand and deliver what they’re really asking for.