NEW YORK—The pandemic accelerated and raised awareness of what’s meant by “access” and “convenience” for patients who need to better manage their health and benefit from new services and technologies in new ways. The rise of “patient-centric” healthcare is taking its inspiration from retail businesses who know how to leverage customer knowledge and preferences to create a more interesting, engaging and dynamic customer-centric experience. In a session titled “What Has Healthcare Learned from Retail?” Nerdery’s senior director of Product Management, Mukesh Pitroda, discussed what healthcare providers and brands are learning and adopting from successful retailers, as new formats emerge.

Pitroda imagines a healthcare experience where a smart speaker tells him it’s time to schedule an annual exam. He can then choose to continue with scheduling and is given the appointment option of what’s available next. He’s also given a list of topics to discuss with the healthcare provider based on his age, demographics and possibly previous medical history. He then gets an email with a summary of all the details and he can also log into the patient portal to review the details.

On the day of his appointment, he’s given a barcode that he scan when he enters the parking lot, letting the doctor’s office know he’s arrived. And by the time he gets to the doctor’s office, his paperwork is ready, so it minimizes his wait time.

Pitroda said, “While this scenario doesn’t exist in its entirety today, it is built on top of many lessons that retail has learned over the past two decades, going through the major digital transformation that it has. It is also built on the fact that users want businesses to meet them where they are and to provide a seamless experience that is personalized for them.”

Pitroda outlined three major takeaways healthcare can leverage from retail: First understand your customer, know who they are, what they want, and their customer journey; the second is to build loyalty and trust, create experiences that consumers want to engage in and provide them with information to make good decisions for themselves—that will build trust; and finally, continuously evolve. Once you’ve established relationship and trust with your consumer, now is the time to grow that relationship by looking at new and innovative ways to engage, so you can understand your customer.