Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Rise of the Experience Economy

I attended the UCLA Anderson School of Management Global Business, Industrialization, and Technology conference on the Service Revolution.  One main takeaway was how technology has led the way for the experience economy.

Experience Economy (Pine and Gilmore 1998)
Pine and Gilmore described the Experience Economy in 1998 (see chart). Contemporary consumer desire an experience, not simply a product or a service. Pine and Gilmore argue that the experience economy is the next stage of the value economy. An experience has four key attributes: transformational, high-quality, unexpected and memorable. As agriculture and manufacturing jobs decline as a result of automation, jobs in service and experience market will increase.  In radiology, providing a clinical report may no longer be sufficient; radiology practices' ability to provide experiences for referring providers and patients will allow these groups to deliver high economic value. For example, recently the Philadelphia Children Hospital pediatric radiology published their experience in Journal of American College of Radiology participating in ICU rounds through Telepresence Model (Skype).

In a "High-Touch" industry such as medicine, the Human Factor is at the heart of the experience. A high-touch experience is a practice of dealing with another human being instead of a transaction with a computer or high-tech.  Modern technologies have exceeded human abilities at simple and some of the most complex tasks.   For example, in 2017 Google DeepMind beat the best Go player and Elon Musk's OpenAI software beat the best players in the DOTA2 video game. Technology has enabled us to lead highly productive lives but has starved many of the human connection and relationships that bring us meaning and enjoyment. Medicine is riddled with these problems. Even in the most high-tech healthcare facilities, patients complain that physicians are glued to the computer screens during clinic visits instead of talking to them and performing physical exams; in the inpatient settings, patients are admitted and then discharged, but do not know who the doctors were or what they did.  Although patients care have been optimized, the experience was poor. There are efforts underway in medicine to improve the patient experience.  For example, medical scribes offset time-consuming tasks of electronic documentation to allow physicians to have maximal face-to-face time. Patients are able to check in and check out into clinic visits online to save their time; in addition, patients can use an online portal to contact physicians directly via email and in some instances, via video conferencing. Many companies such as, LemonAID, and others are doing just that.

The availability and access to big data in forms of electronic health records, geospatial information, even seemingly private information such as emotions and moods etc have allowed our high tech systems to tailor and customize the user experience as individual location, historical data and emotional states are fed into the background information systems. The customization and highly specific predictions of individuals draw much larger concerns about privacy and abuse, especially in medicine. However, through collaboration, open and crowd-sourced efforts and regulations, hopefully, we can increase our economic value by improving patients' experience while delivering quality care.

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