July 25th, 2012
Posted by Caroline Popper, M.D., M.P.H.
There’s a joke that’s often shared by medical students: “What’s the difference between God and a doctor? God doesn’t think he’s a doctor.” Regardless of your spiritual orientation, the line illustrates the lofty perch (and decision-making power) occupied by physicians in today’s healthcare settings. But, as we at Popper and Co. have discussed, a new wave of consumer power may eventually topple this perch.
A recent story in the Wall Street Journal by author Doc Searls, “The Customer as a God,” focused on the growing power of customers using electronic devices for daily communication, shopping and other activities. Most current product development, the article points out, focuses on improving the supply of products to the customer, not involving the customer in making those products. This however, is changing. The story projected a future in which people use their devices to pick out clothes, replace parts for appliances, and shop for products—all unencumbered by invasive marketing tracking methods, corporate service plans, and other systems that, as Searls says, “tend to herd customers as if they were cattle.”
Read the rest of this entry »