Patient Engagement
Is Customization a Solution? (02:51)

What does mass customization actually mean? How can it relate to health care?

Stacey Chang offers the example of Nike’s program for designing your own shoes. They don’t offer every possible variable to create a shoe from scratch, but instead offer specific variables you can adjust.

“Mass customization isn’t about the responsibility of the system divining perfectly what the person does and then producing that in perfect form,” says Chang. “It’s about getting the consumer him or herself to have a role in that. Mass customization is much more an experience than it is just an output.”

Customization is not a “perfect output for each perfect person,” Chang explains. By getting the consumer engaged, you can channel them into specific siloes of behavior or outcomes — and that individual will feel like they own it.

Sean Duffy describes mass customization as the ability to create different experiences at the consumer or patient level in a scalable way, for which you need three inputs:

  1. What the person says. These are onboarding questionnaires determining how you would like your experience shaped. Netflix, for example, asks which movie categories you enjoy.
  2. Who they are. Demographics, settings, and so on that might be used to tailor your experience.
  3. What they are doing. How do you engage once you’re in an experience? “Did you say you like comedies, but you happen to just watch post-apocalyptic horror movies?” asks Duffy. “Is there dissonance with your real-time behaviors in the experience?”

Once you have those triads, you can shape and tune them, and then change them based on response. “That’s why the world is starting to create product experiences where personalization is expectation,” says Duffy. “After using an experience for a while, you’re like, ‘This weird, it kind of knows me.’ More and more of that will happen in health care.”

“When we say survey in health care, it turns into this really painful proscribed thing,” adds Chang. “But the notion of the light doesn’t have to exit just because it’s health care.” You can take a Cosmo survey and learn a lot about who you are, he jokes. “The experience of gleaning information can actually be delightful. We seem to ignore that sometimes in health care.”

From the NEJM Catalyst event Hardwiring Patient Engagement to Deliver Better Health at Kaiser Permanente Southern California, April 13, 2017.

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