What Fun Doesn’t Look Like

Posted by Ron Decker, CEO on 03/31/2021

A few days ago, The Wrap published a flattering article online about the peculiar joys offered throughout the pandemic by the sole remaining Blockbuster, which seems to enjoy timeless contentment in Bend, OR. That it took the uniquely disagreeable context of Covid-19 to remind the public of the “satisfaction” of going to the movie store should not be understated. Shining at the top of the list of virtues is that it gives people an opportunity to “walk around and [get] an idea of what they want to watch,” as opposed to beloved streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime that ask little more than brandishing the TV remote and enjoying a curated viewing experience made possible through modern and optimized technologies that record taste and suggest new ones.

Am I the only one who finds himself in a state of acute psychological duress even considering that ancient before-time when Netflix didn’t exist and the merchant of cinematic bliss was either anemic cable TV showings or the local video store, with its disorganized aisles and t-shirts and flavorless candy for sale? Contemplate all the frustrations alleviated by the advent of streaming platforms: no longer must you fight for the last copy of Men in Black II, no longer must you wallow in the turmoil of one more stop on the arduous commute home from the office, no longer must you stand in the unsmiling queue before the cashier fumbles through the directory trying to discern just which David Hampton you are, no longer must you endure all this only to discover five minutes into the screening that the film you methodically and nervously appointed tonight’s recreation is a complete flop, rendering the whole escapade humorlessly futile! Let Bend, OR enjoy its claim to the last Blockbuster, thank you very much.

The exceptional thing about evolution in technologies—and cultural embraces of them—is that they solve an inconvenience that the consumer had been unaware of but avidly adopted as soon as it was popularized. With the pitiful exception of the fetish for that one unkillable Blockbuster (and a fetish, of course, lays claim to a fixation not shared by the majority), Netflix necessarily erased the mind-numbing inefficiencies of the video store experience. Otherwise we wouldn’t be reading articles about the final Blockbuster!

Healthcare is not exempt from this type of consumer scrutiny. The majority of patients will no more tolerate providers that have not embraced modernization, whose practices do not incorporate patient engagement programs, alternatives to in-office visits, ways to prepopulate information and longitudinal care, than they would side with Family Video over Netflix or Amazon Prime. Optimization in healthcare, like any other industry, utilizes analytics to improve care, trim costs and gain efficiencies, all things the consumer is growing more attached to and would be pained to do without. Employing these technologies transforms practices and gives patients that modern healthcare experience they’ve come to expect.

Practices that resist modernizing, optimizing and transforming, anchor patients—that massive stratum of partial judges who dictate the future without having any foreknowledge of what it will look like—in a bleak sea of video stores that sooner or later they’ll flee, for a land where innovation has helped “realize” some unconscious wish.

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