Transforming Healthcare by Overcoming Five Fears

July 3, 2019

// By Jared Johnson //

Jared JohnsonWith so much national discourse on technology, it can be easy to forget that changing healthcare requires us to change human behavior within organizations.

Wise business leaders have long acknowledged that “throwing technology at people problems” often exacerbates those problems. Transforming healthcare to become consumer-centric can feel like a giant jigsaw puzzle, and one piece of that puzzle is gaining a better understanding of the human dynamics involved in it.

Jeff Gourdji, co-author of Making the Healthcare Shift: The Transformation to Consumer-Centricity, explains it this way:

“Healthcare is a service business. Within a large health system, thousands of people a day interact with patients. If important systems, processes, structures, and incentives get in the way of consumer-centricity, then it won’t happen. Most health system leaders want to make their organizations more consumer-centric. However, they are dealing with legacy barriers that make it very difficult.”

That is one of the premises of the book, based on in-depth interviews with dozens of healthcare executives and research from polling hundreds more. The author identifies five behavioral tendencies that can prevent healthcare organizations from becoming truly consumer-centric:

  1. Fear of change
  2. Fear of the unknown
  3. Fear of being different
  4. Fear of risk
  5. Fear of failure

The book calls out two interesting points. First, less than 15 percent of healthcare organizations have made full progress on addressing any of these shifts. Second, the final shift is from “Insights as a Department” to a “Culture of Consumer Obsession.” That’s important, because it implies that many of those so-called legacy barriers have to do with human behavior.

The more we understand these five fears, the better equipped we will be to transform healthcare in a meaningful and effective way.


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