The age (still) of the consumer in healthcare

I’m midway through the whirlwind that is AHIP, and I’m a simultaneously depressed and excited. WAY back in 2008, I gave my first speech at AHIP about customer experience. It was the first time we really started talking about the consumer at this conference. I had 7 people in my audience. I talked about simplifying the experience. I talked about a program we were running at Cigna we called “The Words We Use” – simplifying the language of health care. I talked about mapping journeys for out customers and making it easy for them to get to us. The examples I gave were our 24/7 contact center we’d recently stood up and our revamped explanation of benefits (which we won all sorts of awards for..Cigna Wins Awards for EOB)


Now, 7 years later, every session I attend, the conversation is all about the customer experience. People are so engaged and passionate about making it easy for the consumer speaking plain language, meeting people where they are! That makes me feel phenomenal.

What makes me sad though is that I feel like we’ve been talking about doing this for years, yet it doesn’t feel as if people are actually making significant changes in the plans to make it easier for someone to use their product, company or services.

I think that we’re literally at the point where if you don’t start changing, right now, you won’t be here in a matter of a few years. The consumer expectation is at an all time high – and health plans and providers simply are not meeting them.

I’m hopeful that as we walk out of AHIP Institute – the thousands of attendees will actually go back to their companies and make change. Small change. Big change. Any change.

You have to. The time is now to be brave and to help your respective company move forward. As consumers, we’re requiring it. As companies – you are beholden to doing something to make it better.