David Bassuk and Sonia Lapinsky

After the health-care industry underwent a tumultuous period, the Mayo Clinic has emerged a leader by putting the patient first and aligning teams of medical professionals behind a single, cohesive treatment plan. It’s a model that AlixPartners says can benefit the retail industry.

During a session led by David Bassuk, global retail practice leader at AlixPartners, and Sonia Lapinsky, managing director at the firm, as well as John Noseworthy, M.D., former president and chief executive officer of the Mayo Clinic, the speakers said the strategies deployed by the health-care provider can be used by retailers and brands to better meet the needs of consumers — by putting them at the center of the business plan.

Bassuk said the Mayo Clinic’s mantra is to put the “patient at the heart” of everything the organization does. The panelists explained how the Mayo Clinic converges a team of specialists on one patient, and then creates a treatment plan “with a clear focus on the patient,” Lapinksy said, adding that everyone on the team is “aligned with the plan, which is a playbook that everyone marches to.”

“They communicate constantly with one another while in-house labs conduct tests and results are shared with doctors — within minutes, instead of weeks,” Bassuk said.

To make it work, the Mayo Clinic has removed “internal silos” while leveraging patient data and embracing speed. The decision-making processes have been accelerated and are done in a collaborative environment, Bassuk said.

As a result, Bassuk said 88 percent of patients at the Mayo Clinic receive “new or refined” diagnoses. “And that shows the power of breaking down silos,” Bassuk said.

Key to the Mayo Clinic’s success is a robust operational process that included doing away with multiple patient records in 2018 and using a “single electronic health record” instead. The Mayo Clinic focuses on specialized care via a cancer center, department of cardiovascular medicine, neurology department and transplant center.

In regard to the first steps brands and retailers need to take, Noseworthy said, “You start by asking a simple question, which is, ‘what is the purpose of your company?'” That simple question allows for a discussion on the core mission of a retailer or brand, and how it can best serve customers.

In a report issued during the summit, titled, “Prescriptions for Success: Lessons From a World-Class Leader,” AlixPartners researchers said the Mayo Clinic’s approach offers each patient “an integrated and personalized” treatment and health care plan. The organization develops a “two-way conversation” with patients that results in greater trust.

“The retail industry must also invert a decades-old dynamic and create a plan that puts the consumers at the heart of all decision-making,” AlixPartners said.

The firm recently conducted a consumer survey that showed shoppers having “ultra-high expectations from retailer interactions across five elements of any transaction and expect to be placed at the center of these: product, price, access, experience and service.”

Shoppers crave “true personalization” and also need the products and services they buy to reflect their own values, Bassuk said. They want a seamless experience and the ability to buy when and where is most convenient for them.

The survey showed that 85 percent of consumer respondents expect one-to-one, personalized exchanges, which compares to 72 in prior surveys. And 84 percent of consumers want to shop on “any platform, at any time, from any place,” which is up from 70 percent prior.

By way of action items, Bassuk said to break down retail and brand silos, companies need to develop cross-functional teams and have an “integrated consumer-driven playbook” as well as shared consumer-based incentives.

To “embrace speed,” Bassuk said retail winners will need to deploy “fast-track models” and realign resources across various teams while also co-locating teams for better collaboration.

Additionally, companies need to “accelerate insights” by creating digital dashboards, changing the metrics examined and then using the new insights to “reshape the decision-making process.”

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