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'Never waste a good crisis' – strategic insights in the evolution of digital healthcare


There has been enough discussion regarding the potential ramifications and possible implications of the pandemic across every industry. The velocity of change is exponential, and the forced adoption of digital technologies as service alternatives has closed some doors and opened others for customers and companies alike. For many, digital strategies are still on hold. For others, they are approached cautiously as to not be caught on the back foot of another rapid wave of digital disruption. For some (big-tech), the pandemic has been an opportunity to extend an arm into industries that have been on a slow trot in the digital space up until the pandemic, namely healthcare.


The Dust is settling and disruption is at large

Amazon recently announced that it’s employee on-demand healthcare service will be expanded and sold to other companies. The service connects workers virtually with doctors and nurses within the very ‘Amazon-like’ timeframe of 60 seconds. This news is quite a leap for big-tech as much of it’s disruption in health has been aimed at wellness, rather than healthcare itself. This move is another digital health venture added to Amazon’s portfolio that already includes a dominant foot in pharmacy and medical technology.


With great power comes great responsibility

The main challenge for big-tech companies venturing into health has been privacy issues and data collection, to which transparency has helped build the trust between customers and the organisations. The pandemic displayed an enormous opportunity for companies like Amazon, Google and Apple to power the digital transformation in healthcare, where now customers are beginning to buy-in to the value these digital healthcare models can deliver.

The underlying message about digital strategy from the big players

Aside from literally taking on Winston Churchill’s advice to ‘never waste a good crisis’, these industry giants illustrate a critical point for those organisations still recovering or stagnant from the impact of COVID-19. During the pandemic, a lot of organisations focussed on refining their value propositions and business models to fit the digital climate, but not many went back far enough to understand the changes in their customers needs. This was the difference between those that recovered and those that discovered growth.

Apple has been able to capitalise on changing consumer needs when the pandemic imposed greater health risks and restrictions to health services. By evolving their consumer-facing products into health-hubs and clinical research tools that would have usually been accessible through a doctors appointment, they were able to answer the emotional needs of many customers and alleviate the pressure on resources in healthcare. Amazon moved into the health supply chain and transformed pharmacy by leveraging it’s delivery service to meet customers needs who had limited access to healthcare or were restricted by lockdowns with their efficient and effective logistical power. Google’s Alphabet focused on data-driven insights to streamline clinical research and address challenges in healthcare with the aim to drive down costs for customers, addressing the needs of customers influenced by the pandemic-induced economic changes.

The Take-home message for your next digital customer strategy

Although these organisations possess the resources and market share to transform entire industries, the more incremental message here surrounds the power of customer-centricity and emphasises the importance of digital capability, and an agile strategic framework for growth. Organisations are not required to pivot their business models from IT to producing hand-sanitiser and healthcare products. Rather, organisations must be reminded that customer needs and behaviours have changed as much as the digital climate has, and thus they need to consider whether they’re creating new value for customers, or just reframing current value propositions and business models that are no longer relevant in the customers world.

Here at the Strategy Group, we work with organisations to develop, define, and execute meaningful customer strategies that place digital technologies, customer experience, and human-centred design at the forefront of innovation. If you’re looking to deploy a customer strategy, whether it’s through an acquisition, engagement, or digital lens, please do not hesitate to reach out to us to find out how you can maximise growth opportunities whilst staying relevant in the future of digital disruption.

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