In the first two posts of my three-part series, I provided you with a foundation to better understand the role of consumerism in health care today. I offered some organizational prompts and tools to help you start to develop a consumer-facing plan for your organization. But now we must face the big question… how do we make consumerism a reality in your organization?

As I have said before, the health care industry, or really the delivery of care, is dramatically changing. The rise of consumerism represents a radical paradigm shift in the industry. As a result, there will be challenges along the way as you integrate consumerism into your organization — the most significant of which is the right speed and the right moment for implementation. You need to understand that things are slow to change, so you have to time your approach accordingly. You also don’t want to get there too fast as you might leave everyone behind, including the patients. You need to map the adoption rate to the actual customer, which is the tricky part.

While there will certainly be challenges, they are not insurmountable. By asking the right questions, understanding your audience, preparing for the tricky moments and maintaining focus, you will have the tools you need. Here are five tips that will help you be successful:

Tip #1: Understand your bandwidth to do this work.

  • What do you have?
  • What do you need?
  • If you are committed to this work, you need to fill this void with people who know what they are doing—who can hit the ground running.
  • Consider hiring people from outside the healthcare industry to implement this work.

Tip #2: Start off slow and be practical.

  • Get a couple of quick wins under your belt.
  • Don’t bite off more than you can chew.

Tip #3: Be willing to fail.

  • Failure does not mean you are bad. Failure means you are innovative.

Tip #4: Be able to track and trend.

  • What problem are you trying to solve?
  • Be able to quantify where you are before you deploy the new technology or program and measure where you are after it is in place. This shows the value in what you are doing.

Tip #5: Focus on how something can be done and not on how something cannot be done.

  • Set attainable goals.

At the end of the day, in our industry, we can all choose to walk one of two paths. The first is the path most traveled. It is the one that continues to do things the way they have always been done when it comes to health care. The path less traveled is the one that recognizes health care delivery, as we know it, is changing.  It is a path of innovation, creativity and looking at the world through a new and different lens. I hope you will join me here.