What a difference a Year makes!!
Yes, you have heard that before – what a difference a year makes. Have you noticed that as technology advances, so does change? And it also accelerates the change in human nature and behavior. As we look at the notable stories and developments of 2021 it is amazing that numerous occurred recently and more will appear before the end of the year.
As you plan for 2022 keep in mind that a one-year plan is closer to a one-quarter plan in reality. The days of the five-year plan are absurd. As is often said “Time flies!” and it matters not if you are having fun!
Think of what is happening in technology. One example is what is developing with sales and marketing. Digitally native, direct-to-consumer players have disrupted business as we know it, transforming the way people buy. The direct-to-consumer model has introduced deep-seated customer engagement, which has shifted consumer expectations regarding products and services.
This approach has also transformed businesses with growth opportunities now armed with direct and immediate consumer data, communication, and channels. And it has completely throttled our traditional retail go-to-market channels and methods. We all remember the Toys R Us catalog. Toys R who?
It just so happens that today, companies without direct connections to customers expose themselves to gaps. They’re losing valuable opportunities for engagement, data, and market share.
But those that cultivate direct channels, whether they are business-to-consumer, business-to-consumer, or business-to-business-to-consumer businesses, can bolster their customer relationship model by using direct-to-consumer tactics that are innovative, rapid, and executable. It is incredible how many competitors are engaging in “Coopetition“. The term was first coined in the early 1990s by Raymond J. Noorda, the founder of Novell Corporation, and has gained momentum the last 2 decades.
It is no secret that the consumer model is changing. With eCommerce gradually replacing ritualistic trips to the store, companies must transform their business to compete in the new era of consumerism. That said, have you been to Costco lately? If you enjoyed bumper cars in your youth plan a trip to Costco! It isn’t over yet!
One industry that is starting to feel the effects of this new era is the consumer healthcare industry. Amazon is now forcing the issue of direct-to-consumer in consumer healthcare companies by selling multiple over-the-counter drugs through its channel. For example, they are launching a new line of consumer healthcare products. They provide expedited shipping and subscribe-and-save models. Amazon appears to be positioning itself to become an online pharmacy that challenges the traditional brick-and-mortar model with a pharmacist behind the counter. The retail pharmacists are attempting to counter-act that effort with automated, flexible, and expedient services themselves. You can drive up to the wrong Walgreens and have a prescription transferred to that location from another in a matter of an hour or so, depending on the workload.
That business trend is accompanied by others that are more government-oriented and thus more controversial. At least four states in recent weeks have called in members of the National Guard to deal with health care staffing issues amid COVID-19 vaccine mandates for hospital and nursing home workers. Who would ever thought this would occur in the United States of America – The Land of the Free, and the Home of the Brave?
Have you seen reports recently that a lower level of antibodies against the Omicron virus variant is triggered by COVID-19 vaccines? Using blood samples from people who received two doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine or the Pfizer-BioNTech jab, researchers with the University of Oxford found “a substantial fall” in neutralizing antibodies, with evidence of some people failing to have any. “This will likely lead to increased breakthrough infections in previously infected or double vaccinated individuals, which could drive a further wave of infection,” the authors wrote in the recent study.
That is surely not good news, but some research suggests a booster dose can restore some of the lost protection while others indicate natural immunity, or the immunity developed from having the virus and recovering from recovery, isn’t as effective against Omicron infection. Do these thesis make your head spin? Or better yet, do they make you confident that we are out of the woods with this feared virus? But, hey, the news from 2021 is surely not all bad. Researchers say that they may have discovered the molecular-level cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Wow! Let’s hear more!
Scientists at the University of California Riverside said in recent findings that the key to understanding Alzheimer’s may have to do with “tau” proteins that likely cause neurofibrillary tangles—which are found in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients. Previously, researchers suggested that amyloid plaques, which are a buildup of amyloid peptides, may be the cause. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if a cure for this dreaded disease were found ASAP?
So how do all of these rapidly developing trends and discoveries effect how working together in the technology and service sectors help providers remain or become successful. It is easy as vendors, to be critical of the bureaucracies and sometimes seemingly counter-productive nature of decision-making and change-adoption of healthcare organizations. But let’s be fair, the dynamics are often mind-numbing! The what-to-do-now questions would have a genius’ head spinning.
The pertinent question is “What can we do to help the industry weather the storm” so they don’t become the next New Orleans or Kentucky? Great question, right?
How about we all work together (some coopetition?) to build software and a services model that is forward-thinking and supportive of an industry that is in continuous churn so to provide a softer landing when the inevitable bombs drop? That requires implementation of open, flexible, and up-to-date software platforms. It also requires a service philosophy of continuous improvement and the desire to do whatever possible to respond and yes, sometimes react, to the ongoing demands and changes of healthcare providers. It is surely not all their fault that so many are struggling to survive today. Extensive healthcare requirements are driven by what lawmakers believe are the right things to do, and let’s not forget that wherever COVID-19 came from, it isn’t likely to have been birthed in our healthcare system. Here's to a productive finish to 2021 and an innovative and success-filled 2022!