Baylor Scott & White CEO Jim Hinton: Digital-physical fusion will solidify legacy brands' place in the future of healthcare

By interconnecting digital and physical assets to best serve its customers' needs, Starbucks has accomplished what most healthcare organizations are hoping to achieve: a meaningful customer experience, according to James H. Hinton, CEO of Dallas-based Baylor Scott & White Health.

 During a keynote session at Becker's 8th Annual CEO + CFO Roundtable on Nov. 12, Mr. Hinton discussed what health systems can learn from Starbucks and how they can solidify their own position in the future of healthcare.

Starbucks, which started with a single physical location in Seattle, has grown because of its efforts to create a meaningful customer experience, Mr. Hinton said.

As part of this strategy, Starbucks focuses on extending the in-store experience to create personalized, productive digital relationships with customers. This has now extended beyond the four walls of physical Starbucks locations. For instance, Starbucks has linked up with partners like UberEats to deliver its products to customers at home, on demand.

Healthcare providers should adopt the same approach to serve patients wherever, whenever and however they choose to be served. That starts with understanding the modern patient's expectations: they want to have access to affordable healthcare, be seen on their own schedule, be rewarded for their loyalty, and receive medical advice quickly from a trusted provider, according to Mr. Hinton.

All of these needs are "ripe for disrupters," he said, but health systems can gain a competitive edge by building strategy around digital-physical fusion, adding and strengthening links in the customer experience, and putting innovation front-and-center.

That innovation should involve collaboration between the people who know how to run a traditional healthcare business, as well as "those who know how to digitize it for the people we serve," Mr. Hinton said. And successful innovation hinges on consumer needs.

Eighty percent of today's consumers want to begin their healthcare journey digitally, and 60 percent are willing to engage in healthcare digitally to save money, according to Mr. Hinton. With that in mind, Baylor Scott & White Health created the MyBSWHealth app, which enables patients to book appointments, pay bills, find same-day care options and monitor their health.

"We've got the big physical footprint; we're going all in on the digital footprint," Mr. Hinton said, encouraging other legacy organizations to do the same. "I believe the future is ours. It's a digital future, it's a physical future, it's a home future, and for many of us [healthcare leaders], it's a future that will advance our mission."

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