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4 Prime Lessons Healthcare Providers Should Take from Amazon


A perennial leader in most-loved brand surveys, Amazon again tops the list for 2017, according to research by Morning Consult. Jeff Bezos has long championed the idea of putting customers first, noting: “The most important single thing is to focus obsessively on the customer. Our goal is to be earth’s most customer-centric company.”

Amazon consistently meets that standard, hence the accolades. But how? Given the expectations arising from healthcare consumerism, hospitals and other healthcare providers would do well to follow in Amazon’s footsteps.


What Healthcare Can Learn from Amazon

Data is at the heart of Amazon’s success. Thanks to nature of online shopping, Amazon has mountains of information about individual consumers based on every search run, click made and e-cart filled. Healthcare providers have a considerable amount of data too, tucked away in EHRs, but a patient’s history and diagnostic data is just part of the story. Here are ways that healthcare data can be put to use to create more Amazon-like experiences for patients.

1. Recognize what makes your healthcare consumers unique.

Personalization influences the quality of shoppers’ experience on Amazon. Customer keep returning—and buying—because Amazon uses past buying preferences to recommend relevant products or services. For example, a customer might receive an email reminder that a favorite author’s latest book has just been released or visit the website and see suggestions for re-ordering spa chemicals based on the time between purchases.


Communications from healthcare providers need to resonate too, and psychographic segmentation can help. Offering deeper insights into individual patient beliefs, attitudes, motivations and preferences, psychographic segmentation enables hospitals to adapt their approach to individuals to drive engagement. Rather than providing generic recommendations for diabetic patients, for example, a healthcare provider could use different tools based on psychographic segment—a goal-tracking app for Self Achievers versus a curated list of diabetes-related websites for Balance Seekers.

 Learn More: Self Achievers  vs. Balance Seekers ➜ 

2. Focus on care convenience.

At a recent healthcare real estate forum, Array Advisors principal Fady Barmada took inspiration from Amazon Go concept stores, where customers can check-in at the entrance using their phones and then fill their bags with groceries and walk out without the hassles of a check-out line. Barmada suggests, “That’s the type of service and tech integration we’re moving toward with healthcare.” 

And some hospitals are already implementing tools to make care more convenient. During the forum, one panelist cited a GPS-enabled scheduling app used by a cancer treatment center. In addition to making it easier to manage appointment schedules, the app notifies the hospital reception desk when a patient drives onto the campus so that the provider can prepare for the patient’s arrival before he or she walks through the door.

3. Look beyond siloed data for answers.

Health Data Management suggests following in Amazon’s footsteps when it comes to healthcare analytics. Across the healthcare landscape, hospitals and other providers have implemented information technology to gather data—EHRs, clinical systems and more—but often that data remains segregated in separate silos. As a result, healthcare providers still lack transparency into the entire patient experience.

Amazon, on the other hand, leverages a graph database that is “… designed specifically to interpret relationships between different sets of data.”  With the patient at the center of the graph, each connection—with different providers ranging from a primary care physician to a pharmacist, and associated clinical events including visits to the doctor, hospital admissions, or lab tests—combines to offer greater transparency into patient experiences. And with that transparency, hospitals are better positioned to understand and address patient needs, and improve experiences when there is a transition of care such as a move from the hospital to a rehab center.

4. Increase transparency for healthcare consumers.

It’s not just hospitals that need transparency into the patient experience; today’s consumers are looking for more Amazon-like transparency in their own interactions with healthcare providers. A paper published in Studies in Health Technology and Informatics notes that Amazon’s purchasing decision aids help consumers, and in turn boost trust and loyalty among customers. For instance, providing detailed product descriptions, prices and reviews by other customers makes it easy for customers to compare options and make purchasing quickly.  



Amazon’s liberal use of advanced analytics has proven effective in motivating desired customer behaviors, while at the same time boosting satisfaction, loyalty, and retention. Are you ready to put patient data and healthcare analytics to work to achieve the same kind of positive results for your healthcare organization?

Psychographic Segmentation and its Practical Application in Patient Engagement and Behavior Change


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