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Is Your Healthcare Digital Organization Really Product-Driven?

Business People Discussing At Lobby

Digital organizations in health payers and providers strive to enhance value for their patients and members.

And the stakes are high for these consumers. After all, healthcare decisions impact health, wallet, and emotional well-being. That means digital experiences become an important opportunity to positively fill gaps – both before and after care is received.

What does it mean to be truly product-driven in healthcare?

To be product-driven, healthcare leaders must launch and listen. Think of your digital products as a trusted source of consumer feedback to fuel your organization’s strategies, even beyond digital.

This is especially important in service industries where there is no tangible good. Your digital products become one of your most powerful assets.

Healthcare organizations often struggle to adopt a product-driven model.

The failures are easy to spot by looking at both the portfolio (top) and the team level (bottom) of the value creation funnel.

At the PORTFOLIO level, you need to ensure an ongoing collaboration to continuously refine and prioritize the business need/case.

  • All parties should understand the intended impact of each business case on the organization.
  • Digital leadership should be consulted for the anticipated impact on their digital products.

Healthcare is ripe with many disparate segments, lines of business, systems, and specialties. Often, these distinct areas will prioritize their own work and leave the difficult enterprise prioritization decisions up to shared services like digital.

At the TEAM level, you need to ask yourself an important question: are your teams “outcomes-obsessed.” If not, why? (Hint: often, there’s little incentive for outcomes-obsessed behavior.) Let’s look back to the top.

  • Very few digital business cases ask for results, which makes the next challenge rather obvious: teams rarely use results to fuel ideation for the following planning cycle.
  • This short-sighted approach perpetuates “launch it and leave it” mentality, resulting in:
    • Low utilization of digital products
    • Less-informed leadership teams across the organization

Your digital teams simply move on to the next priority (and, if you ask them, they may tell you that they feel like a factory).

A product-driven digital healthcare organization can tackle these problems at the top of the funnel.

Digital leadership must take place at the portfolio layer.

Digital product management leaders must have a collaborative relationship with stakeholders across various parts of the healthcare organization.

The business and digital leadership should:

1. Share and Gain Perspective

Peers across the business and partners in shared services (like digital) should be a) reviewing and discussing business hypotheses for new work and b) sharing analytics and other feedback from previous work. This kind of collaboration should inspire digital product management leadership to write their own Agile portfolio epics to aid in the organization’s varied goals of growth, retention, satisfaction, etc. Furthermore, all historical digital epic outcomes need to be shared with the business to help influence their work.

  • Ideal Timing: This isn’t something merely done once a year; rather a forum to gain alignment and perspective should be on-going.

2. Create Well-Articulated Business Cases

The business hypotheses and intended outcomes should be made clear in draft Agile portfolio epics. The business and shared services, including digital, should come prepared with their best ideas.

  • Ideal timing: Given the complexity in healthcare and insurance and the cyclicality of the annual funding process, this should begin no later than April with all drafts completed by end of May.

3. Refine

After sharing your drafted epics and listening to others, refine your business case with impacted leaders.

  • Ideal timing: June and July

4. Prioritize and Fund

Tough decisions around what gets done with limited healthcare dollars is decided by the leadership in the project management office (PMO) and should be communicated across the organization. In healthcare organizations, this timeframe is critical to ensure that what you felt were solid business cases in May are still relevant in September.

  • Ideal timing: September

5. Be prepared to pivot!

Given the dynamic nature of healthcare and health insurance, be prepared for a new business case at any time during the year (e.g., legislation, M&A, etc.). Depending upon the urgency, it should be scrutinized for its priority against formerly prioritized and funded work and/or the next planning cycle.

PRO TIP! If you are a digital leader who is constantly making tough prioritization decisions, scrutinize the portfolio or program epic for details. The expected business outcomes should help you make the decision. But if it’s political, share those facts back up to the business partners to make the final decision.

Product-Driven Success In Action

Perficient and GoHealth Urgent Care’s partnership has produced an award-winning and highly-rated mobile app that helps customers easily find an urgent care center, save their spot, and register for their visit.

Consumer experiences often lag in healthcare, yet GoHealth’s focus has consistently been to create the best possible consumer experience. Their commitment to Agile-driven product development, steered by user feedback and app analytics, ensures continuous improvement that prioritizes the highest-value features for their customers.

Move From Project to Product With Expert Guidance

Being a product-driven organization offers numerous advantages over being a project-driven one.

  1. Defines and tracks business outcomes.
  2. Leads to better business results.
  3. Supports continuous improvement through iterative development.

Our VP of IT’s Guide to Transforming Your Business guide is an excellent resource for those seeking an even deeper dive. This guide answers IT leaders’ top questions about cloud strategy, data, DevOps, and product development. It comprehensively examines the latest trends and best practices for driving business outcomes through technology.

Interested in truly becoming outcomes-driven? We’re here to help. Learn more here.

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Marybeth Wrabel

Marybeth Wrabel is a highly rated senior leader leveraging 20 years of payor experience with deep knowledge of the US and International end-to-end value chains. She is well-versed in designing, implementing, and optimizing company-wide sales/client management, producer, client, and consumer digital and marketing strategies that support growth and retention.

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