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Informed Decisions: Trends, Influencers and Intelligence

Posted Sep 14 2008 3:11pm

Informed Decisions: Trends, Influencers and Intelligence

Daily deadlines, shifting priorities and crisis management can limit your ability to stay current with important trends or sector developments. However, market information is critical to identifying environmental factors and enabling actionable intelligence that have a tremendous influence on your business. Simply put, keeping up with what’s going on creates an improved context for making informed, competitive decisions.

Meaningful market intelligence delivers a frontline perspective. It reveals how influencers are thinking about business issues that serve ( or should serve) as the basis of your strategic environment. Ultimately, this knowledge can pave the way toward more grounded decisions on market positioning, product changes and growth/profitability expectations.

Several key environmental drivers are on today’s radar screen – 2008 elections, healthcare consumers and expectation economy. I am going to draw upon several outside sources to provide a look at each subject.

2008 Elections

Universal health insurance, the uninsured and unsustainable entitlement are themes of every Presidential hopeful’s rhetoric. Tracking their positions and more importantly, the solutions they are recommending isn’t easy. But, the impact on your strategy for 2009 and beyond is huge – future of Medicare, public/private partnerships, pay-for-performance, SCHIP funding, employer mandates, and the list goes on!

The following links to a Kaiser Family Foundation website which provides a side-by-side comparison of the candidates' positions on health care –

The comparison highlights information on each Presidential candidate’s position related to access to health care coverage, cost containment, improving the quality of care and financing.

Healthcare Consumers

Consumer directed healthcare, health savings accounts and web-based tools to evaluate doctor or hospital quality and pricing – everything points to a retail healthcare model where market dynamics require patients to be more active in their financial, benefit and clinical choices. It’s a marketplace where ownership, self-sufficiency, engagement and empowerment describe tomorrow’s healthcare consumer.

A recent article by Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. entitled Redefining the Healthcare Consumer presents an insightful view on what’s important to consumers (i.e., value, simplicity and trust) and what defines healthcare consumer market segments –

Expectation Economy

Over the last year I have discussed a range of issues around the importance of the customer – segmentation, messaging, “health squeeze”, satisfaction and retention. As part of tracking these trends, I have followed an organization called It’s an independent trend firm that scans the marketplace for the most promising consumer tendencies, insights and related business ideas.

Most recently introduced the concept of Expectation Economy, an environment where experienced, well-informed consumers maintain high expectations that they apply to every product or service purchasing decision. These expectations are based on the vast proliferation and accessibility of comparative consumer information. It’s an economy consisting of educated, self-sufficient and convenience-driven consumers. They have tough standards, are intolerant of corporate missteps, and carry an aggressive voice thanks to the blogosphere, social networking, and word-of-mouth marketing.

Here’s a link to a PDF that examines the ideas behind an Expectation Economy in more detail –

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