Driving the Adoption of Digital Services of Digital Services in Healthcare: A Case Study

Among the greatest challenges resulting from the pandemic that we’ve faced as marketers is driving the adoption of digital services.

This particular case study plays out in the healthcare field. It is our hope that the findings and implications revealed here will support your team as you strategize, optimize, and expand the cutting edge.

When the COVID-19 pandemic emerged in early 2020, a major U.S. healthcare system foresaw radical change ahead for the entire healthcare industry. Surging case numbers and hospitalizations posed massive challenges outright, while, for non-COVID patients, lockdown restrictions inhibited routine physician visits, prescription medication access, and medical procedures.

The healthcare giant sought to explore an opportunity to better help its patients access the medical care they needed by leveraging the acceleration of digital trends. It was determined that consumer research offered the best means to vet the potential expansion of their pharmacy into a fully functional digital services offering. Their team selected ConsumerDNA to take on the patient research task.

The Challenge:

Prior to the pandemic, our client enjoyed a thriving retail pharmacy business. Lockdown restrictions, however, and fear of COVID transmission (particularly poignant in healthcare-related spaces) stymied the inflow of patients virtually overnight. Now there was a soaring demand for contactless prescription ordering/delivery and virtual consultations and care.

With one eye on present challenges and the other looking to the future, the healthcare network’s leadership saw an opportunity to launch a digital pharmacy designed to offer the utmost in safety, accessibility and convenience, delivered through a seamless user experience. Their success would hinge upon a deep understanding of which platform features would encourage and maximize adoption.

Thus we defined our main patient insights goals as: 
  • Testing and refining the digital pharmacy concept
  • Uncovering the drivers of and barriers to digital service adoption, and
  • Identifying the characteristics of the key subgroups most likely to adopt the service.

The Design:

Our team developed a research design that combined quantitative insights with advanced statistical analysis. We surveyed a random-representative sample of 1,000 medical prescription holders from within the geographic service area for the greater hospital network.
Of critical consequence to our findings was a distinctive drivers and barriers analysis, conducted using regression trees where the dependent variable was adoption of the digital service and the predictive variables were program features, benefits, and concerns.

The Results:

Upon receiving our findings, our client determined that a digital pharmacy offering was both desirable and feasible in its target geographic market. The platform and app were developed with the highest ranking key features at the forefront, one of which enabled patients to speak directly with a pharmacist through the app, while another allowed for real-time tracking of an Rx delivery and ability to communicate with the driver.

Key drivers centered around safety and convenience, for example “no need to wait in line or drive”, nor risk exposure to COVID-19.
Existing barriers included delivery issues, reluctance to trust the service and delivery person, and anxiety around technology use.
The launch of the digital pharmacy was a near-immediate success. 
Our predictions on how many customers would use the new service proved to be correct and further feedback from the healthcare network indicated that the service features identified by survey respondents were distinguishing the platform from its competitors and driving greater adoption.

In-depth cross-tabular analyses from our findings identified the channels (social media and otherwise) most effective in driving conversions based on the demographic target.

Although this example is in the healthcare field, such a study is highly relevant to any organization working to expand its digital channels.
These insights guide us in creating compelling strategies that improve services, expand client bases, and evolve businesses in advance of emerging trends and market disruption.