Healthcare shoppers gain from women’s leadership

Healthcare shoppers gain from women’s leadership

Ashley McEvoy of Johnson & Johnson, Trudy Bourgeois of The Center for Workforce Excellence and Michelle Gloeckler of Wal-Mart shared insights at NEW Forum.

"There's a tremendous shift in the downstreaming of healthcare," Ashley McEvoy, company group chairman, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care and Johnson & Johnson Diabetes Care, told senior-level executives at the NEW Executive Leaders Forum, July 28, 2016 at Terranea Resort. "It's no longer a closed business-to-business model. It's now business-to-business-to-consumer."

McEvoy joined Michelle Gloeckler, executive vice president, consumables health & wellness, U.S. manufacturing lead, Wal-Mart Stores, for the discussion, "Changing Healthcare and the Female Shopper." The session was moderated by Trudy Bourgeois, founder and CEO of The Center for Workforce Excellence.

"As leaders, we all need to be intentional to make sure that female equality is at the core," Bourgeois said, pointing out the importance of women as influencers and consumers in the wellness products and services landscape. "Women fall into the caregiver role. So the relationship we have with the shopper becomes far more personal."

"We're all users, so we all have that base case. And 90 percent of caregivers don't actually believe they're caregivers," Gloeckler said. "If you want to solve problems, look at your own life first. What would solve your problems? What would make life easier for you?"

While the majority of healthcare decisions were governed by medical professionals in the past, "more of you are going to be in the delivery of service and care," McEvoy told Forum attendees. "Patients now want to have a continuous discussion with doctors."

For Gloeckler, the healthcare system itself does not provide an adequate economic model. "It takes retail businesses, the government and medical professionals to lead through this."

Change is good

"The way that I experience shopping protocol has completely shifted," Bourgeois said, herself a caregiver. "When I go to Walmart, my first stop is Pharmacy. We have got to figure out what happens between what you [industry professionals] do and this [consumer] dynamic."

Gloeckler points to outcome as a success factor. After consulting with insurance and medical professionals, she learned that any visit to the hospital – even for a heart attack – is considered a point of failure. "The piece that they want to reserve is the hospital and the specialist for those that really need it."

A key to predicting outcome is technology, and the gathering of consumer information.

"You can see people's behavior change before a diagnosis," Gloeckler explained. "You see them shop for something for sensitive skin, or something natural... if we can use that data in a non-invasive way, we can say, 'I can help you stop this before it gets to that point."

Product technology ushers in more advancement in the wellness industry. "We actually call ourselves a healthtech company," McEvoy said of Johnson & Johnson. "The amount of progress we've made in five years is pretty remarkable."

With active development of smart devices that proactively assess a diabetic's insulin requirements; user-friendly, mobile health data that can be shared between patients and professionals; and 3-D printing for orthopedics and contact lenses, McEvoy is confident that technology will drive positive change in retail healthcare experience.

We're only human — and that's a lot

What will always be important, McEvoy shared, is "good, old-fashioned customer service. We've uncovered amazing insights into how to cure diseases, but how we deliver that is rapidly changing."

"We're building health service rooms [at Walmart]," Gloeckler said. "We’re trying to give a better customer experience. It's important for the community and it's important for the economics of healthcare."

Bourgeois urged listeners to consider the female consumer, at present and for her future. "When you go to 'retail,' stop looking at just your category. Go to 'she.' Think about her whole life, not just how she experiences today, but how you're going to give her an experience five years from today, 10 years from today."

The panelists agreed that women's leadership advancement is critical to improving the health and wellness consumer experience. "Men, whether you know it or not, you are automatically assumed to be qualified for you're job," McEvoy said. "Women, you're not. You can change that by credentialing each other to people."

"We need that seat at the table but we need to use that power to make sure that 'she' is honored," Bourgeois said.

Gloeckler shared parting words of affirmation. "Assume that what's going on in your head is right, that you're the only one who has it — and that you have the obligation to share it."