In this week’s reading I particularly enjoyed Blue Ocean Strategy and the concept of creating an entirely new model/product/etc. within a space, rather than continuing to compete in a crowded space. IN all honesty before reading this article I had never considered Cirque de Soleil as a blue ocean reaction to the traditional (and threatened) circus. In the strategy that it adopted it truly changed the model, including the price point that customers were willing to pay to see a show.
The concept of blue ocean strategy is interesting in how it has been applied in health care, specifically the in the immediate/urgent care delivery model. In the past several years, there has been a frenzy of solutions pushed in the local market to capture customers (patients) needing immediate care. In addition to the traditional model of emergency departments, the large health systems in Pittsburgh have added urgent care locations, after-hours clinics manned by PCPs, walk-in clinics in select hospitals. Both adult and pediatric patients are targeted in various ways with intense marketing campaigns to support them. Meanwhile retail pharmacies such as Walgreens have begun offering walk in clinics for minor ailments and issues. The blue ocean answer to this noise has been care delivery through technology, both as web-based visits and as video visits with physicians.
These new models are inexpensive to deliver, often relying on physicians or nurses who are already on call to see patients in traditional settings. They respond to the increasing on-demand nature of our culture by eliminating waiting. And considering that the potential market is comprised of people who are often sick, not having to drive to a location to be seen is especially appealing. The technology exists, as the majority of consumers own a smart phone.
But what if this new model becomes cluttered as well? Will PCPs be willing to return to the roots of family medicine and agree to visit patients in their homes? Will they make themselves available via text 24/7? It will be interesting to see what emerges as the even more disruptive blue ocean strategy as consumers come to expect more convenience from health care providers.