The Week in Disruption goes beyond the headlines to uncover the significance of emerging trends in healthcare and beyond.
Store or warehouse? Black Friday heralds retail rethink
Only a few years ago, the major news on Black Friday was invariably the stampedes and occasional fights breaking out in big box stores for heavily discounted toasters and TVs. This year’s version, however, saw a 6.2 percent drop in in-store shopping—the third straight year with a decline—as consumers migrated to online retailers or shopped on Thanksgiving Day itself.
In fact, the biggest frenzy in big box stores this year was the movement of store workers fulfilling online orders, the Wall Street Journal reports.
Increasingly, Target, Walmart, and other retailers are using their stores to handle deliveries or pick up orders in person. Target is on the vanguard of this trend, sourcing 80 percent of its online orders from stores instead of warehouses.
Amid the shift, Target has also retrained its workers to become experts in specific sections of the store, where they’re responsible for answering consumer questions, finding products and keeping aisles stocked.
“I’ve been with Target for 22 years and this is the largest [staffing] change I’ve been a part of,” Ashley Petzold, Senior Group Vice President of stores for Target, told the Journal. “As the retail environment has been shifting, I think we realized we needed to change as well.”
Walgreens, United Healthcare make a play for Medicare enrollees
In recent years, several drugstores have also remade their brick-and-mortar locations to tackle shrinking sales, often with a focus on luring and retaining consumers with more comprehensive health services. CVS Health has used its HealthHUBs, which are partially intended to provide Aetna plan members with chronic disease care and other needs, in this fashion, in a classic example of the funnel business model.
Walgreens and UnitedHealthcare are taking a page from CVS and Aetna, and plan to team up and open 14 Medicare service centers in Walgreens stores in 2020. Visitors will be able to schedule annual at-home wellness visits, sign up for a Medicare Advantage plan, or simply attend informational sessions on Medicare.
A festive time of year in accounts receivable
Settling up a hospital account or buying medical supplies might not be the first thought that comes to mind on Black Friday. But healthcare providers and manufacturers are increasingly finding ways to get in on the most well-known shopping day of the year. Mississippi-based Magnolia Regional Medical Center offered rolling discounts on unpaid bills—up to half off on balances over $6,001—while GE Healthcare Life Science touted deals on protein analysis and chromatography supplies.
Innovation at a glance
- Amazon is launching a HIPAA-eligible medical speech recognition service that converts doctor-patient conversations to text, to streamline clinical documentation
- In 2020, UPS will launch UPS Premier, a healthcare shipping service that will track the exact location of medical packages in real-time
- Kroger and Tennessee-based Ascension Saint Times Health are partnering to offer more healthcare services to Kroger customers through the company’s 360care program
- A new startup funded by Ohio-based health system ProMedica will analyze clinical and demographic data to identify and address the social needs of patients, health plan members, and employees