The ‘Trip Advisor Effect’ and How Healthcare Can Benefit

Insurance designThere is an interesting phenomenon happening right now that is going to affect many industries – but I think the healthcare industry is going to see the change first. I call it the Trip Advisor Effect.

No doubt you’ve heard of the travel planning site Trip Advisor. In the last few years it has grown from a travel review site into a comprehensive tool for assessing destinations, hotels, entertainment and even travel logistics.

It used to be that we used travel agents to book our travel. Then as the Internet matured, we gravitated toward the websites of our favorite airlines or hotel companies to make our travel plans. Now we go to Trip Advisor.

Why is this?

Because Trip Advisor gives you the full scope of your upcoming travel experience. It helps you decide where to go, how to get there, where to stay, what activities you want to do, what restaurants you want to try and where you’re going to hang out when you get to your destination. You can zero in on your demographics – for example you can find kid-friendly activities if you have kids, or kid-free zones if you’re in an older age group and just want a more mellow travel experience.

The Trip Advisor Effect is acknowledging that people are asking more questions and investigating more.

Companies that are using it to their advantage do two things:

  • Share their information with customers and partners – so people searching for that information can find it easier
  • Gather more information from their customers and partners – so instead of operating in silos, you are collaborating to make sure the most information is available and it’s easy to find

Looking at Healthcare Through the Trip Advisor Lens

Believe it or not, the Trip Advisor Effect is going to impact healthcare – simply because people are asking deeper questions.

People aren’t necessarily ignoring the big brands of the healthcare system, and it’s not that they dislike their doctors, it’s just that they’re asking more questions about what services, what technology and what biopharmaceuticals they should use to improve their health.

And people are asking this in a very different way.

If you are a healthcare provider, or your clients are in the healthcare industry, your world is getting turned upside down right now. It’s not just a race to quality, or a race to see who can be the cheapest, or a competition to see who can be the most effective on a CMS schedule. People are cross-leveraging information and trying to find out how to get the most impact from their healthcare system, healthcare provider, insurance company, clinicians and biopharma companies.

Are you hoarding your information?

There are only two sides, here. You’re either aware of the fact that people want more information and want to know how to use it to their benefit – or you’re not.

If you look at the travel industry again, you have hotel chains that are conscious of Trip Advisor and its impact on their customers, and you have hotel chains that are clueless about it. The conscious hotel chains are sharing their information with Trip Advisor, and paying attention to what customers say on Trip Advisor. The clueless hotel chains think their website is controlling or influencing far more traffic than it really is.

Think of air travel. Not everyone wants to connect through Newark or go through a challenging hub (especially if they have kids!). So people are relying on Trip Advisor to tell them how to have a better travel experience.

This is happening in Healthcare, too.

When people need medical care, they consider the destination (medical center), the travel logistics (where to park when they get there) and the activities (which doctors will provide them with the best experience, the most skill and the highest competence). If you can collaborate with companies that are providing this type of information, and make sure they have your information, you are not only going to get ahead of your competitors but you’ll also set your company up better for the future.

The Bottom Line

Trip Advisor is an example of how business models are changing. People have access to more information and they are using it to ask more questions and make better decisions. Companies that can make it easy for customers to do this are going to win big in the market. And I believe we’re going to see it in the healthcare industry first.



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