Check out this exchange from last week’s chat:

How could it be that the very people the system is intended to serve are all but

How could it be that the very people the system is intended to serve are all but forgotten in its day-to-day operations? In our free-market, all businesses are trying to make a profit. That very fact is usually what puts the customer at the center. Great messaging, products and customer service are how you get them to spend their money with you instead of your competitor. There’s the rub. Our healthcare system evolved in a world where the patients were not really the customer — the insurance companies and federal government were. That’s starting to change with high-deductible plans, the beginnings of price transparency and more traditional competition in the market. But, what does this mean for healthcare organizations and patients today? How can we work most effectively with one another while we still have one foot in each boat (i.e. value-based care and fee for service care)?

Here are two great point/counterpoint articles on the topic: Patients are not customers. Here are 6 reasons why and the rebuttal, Patients Are Not Customers ?!?

Discussion Details

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

12:00 PM EST – #hcbiz Tweet Chat
Follow the #hcbiz hashtag on Twitter or use an app like to join the conversation.

12:30 PM EST – Blab
Don Lee will continue the conversation with Shahid Shah and special guests with a 30–60 minute video chat on Blab (subscribe here).

Discussion Topics

Our first two questions will address this issue:

Q1: How are patients different from the more traditional customers of other industries?

Q2: How can healthcare organizations best engage their patients as customers while still operating in the old FFS constructs?

Our final question comes at this from a slightly different, but certainly related angle:

All businesses are trying to make money (even NFP’s — just for a different reason). There seems to be some uneasiness when this happens in healthcare. Is there a line? How do we define it?

Q3: Relative to other industries, do we have different expectations when it comes to profiting from healthcare?