Addressing Customers’ Financial Health: Cues From The Healthcare Industry

Mike Sha

Original article shared on Forbes Finance Council.

Like many other Americans during the pandemic, when I was due for a regular physical I hesitated to go to the doctor’s office. I chose the virtual alternative, or telehealth option, and it was eye-opening.

Not only was I pleasantly surprised, but I became fascinated by the rapid transformation of the healthcare industry. As a leader in the fintech space for more than 15 years, I was immediately drawn to the parallel possibilities for financial services and the opportunity for an improved customer experience.

Both financial services and healthcare are inspiring change in highly regulated environments that haven’t grown up around customer-centric, digital practices. As both industries slowly become more digital, customers understandably expect both high-quality experiences as well as more connected and participatory experiences from their providers. 

What exactly has the healthcare industry figured out that financial services hasn’t yet learned? When you look at some of the elements that made my virtual physical such a stellar experience, it’s easy to imagine the possibilities for the financial services industry.

Remote collaboration is becoming table stakes.

Since the pandemic’s peak, telehealth has made great strides in fostering better collaboration between healthcare providers and patients. To manage the balance between important regulatory requirements and a rewarding user experience, healthcare has made big investments in comprehensive platforms to enable remote collaboration.

With respect to my virtual physical, I was able to schedule my appointment, provide an updated health history and receive lab orders all in the same secure environment. By the time I met with my doctor on the portal, he was able to spend more time talking about what he deemed most important about my health. I came away feeling heard and like we had accomplished something because so little of our appointment was spent on administrative tasks.

Similarly, financial advisors can work with a remote engagement platform geared toward financial services or even use more generic solutions meant for interactive content. Remember how Figma and Google Docs became the collaborative forms of Photoshop and Microsoft Office? This is the way the world is moving.

And don’t forget to turn on the background noise suppression feature or install an external one like Krisp. Your clients don’t want to hear your dogs greet the mailman.

Live meeting engagement matters.

When consumers are asked to talk about their health or their finances, two sensitive topics, they want a safe and comfortable environment. In my telehealth appointment, I was able to use the live meeting engagement functionality to share details about any concerns in an embedded form that the physician used to talk through potential treatment options. In addition, my doctor was able to go beyond test results to show me important health information and data on a shared screen (e.g., how my cholesterol or blood pressure was faring). In these ways, I was able to access a more complete (and secure) understanding of my healthcare picture.

By contrast, most financial services clients leave a meeting with their advisor with a stack of forms to fill out that they often never complete. This creates a more siloed experience that makes the relationship feel much more transactional. Similar to how the healthcare provider engages their patient in a discussion, financial services professionals would benefit from making the tedious experience of completing paperwork integrated into a broader, more dynamic discussion about the client’s financial picture.

Workflows need to be integrated.

Modern consumers are looking for a one-stop shop in as many spheres of their life as possible. Telehealth has done an impressive job of integrating workflows to deliver this all-in-one experience to patients. For example, while the healthcare provider conducts the annual physical, the doctor is able to send any prescriptions to the pharmacy, schedule any referrals and create a custom action plan including diet, exercise and next steps—all in the same appointment and on the same platform.

In financial services, this experience is achieved in a much more fragmented way, broken up into multiple meetings across multiple systems. Often, this burdens the advisor who has to follow up with the client to secure additional information and signatures or coordinate the next phase of the financial consultation.

Screen content must be optimized.

With more and more health (and financial health) interactions happening digitally, it’s critical that content being shared is screen optimized. The more immersive the content, the better the conversations and engagement level between providers and their clients.

In the healthcare setting, screen-optimized content allows physicians and patients to see only relevant information. For example, on the doctor’s screen, healthcare providers may see internal guidelines for ordering a particular diagnostic test or screening questions for prescribing a medication, while the patient only sees that a test has been ordered or possible side effects from the medicine.

One way to optimize screen content in a business setting is through HubSpot’s free Infographic templates or with Canva’s slick, intuitive designs and templates. Overall, being able to build something together in real time to react to and comment on is a key component of a successful remote collaboration tool.

As financial services professionals continue to prioritize the needs of their customers, creating remote, personalized and engaging experiences will remain critical. I believe that the industry can take some important cues from telemedicine, and these learnings—combined with technology—can help advisors and clients work together to achieve the highest possible levels of financial wellness.

The information provided here is not investment, tax or financial advice. You should consult with a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.

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