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Dec 03, 2021

A tight race for health’s top-of-the-funnel

A tight race for health’s top-of-the-funnel Featuring The No Normal Show of Revive

With the top five Fortune 500 companies investing billions into their health offerings, the race for health’s top-of-funnel will be a close one. Where do health systems stand?


The new villain in town: Omicron

  • As the first cases of the COVID-19 Omicron variant appear in the U.S., media and the public speculate whether or not we’ll see another wave of shutdowns.
  • Will Omicron match the severity of the Delta variant? Is the media overstating the new variant’s threat? How long will new variant cycles impact society? These are the questions that sit top-of-mind for The No Normal team.
  • While serious questions about Omicron remain, The No Normal team couldn’t help but chuckle at the variant’s name choice.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) explained that they skipped “Nu” because it sounded too much like “new” and “Xi” to avoid offense to cultures who commonly use “Xi” as a surname, which makes sense. Yet, why did they deviate from the Greek alphabet to name the variant Omicron? Great question.

A review of “The Funnel Wars”

  • In early January 2022, Revive is releasing a new book, Joe Public 2030, which makes five bold predictions about the future of consumer health engagement. This episode covers trend number three, “The Funnel Wars.” 
  • The Funnel Wars refers to competition in the acuity funnel. The top of the funnel is one of the most common funnel entry points. It includes urgent care, virtual care, minute clinics, and even primary care.  
  • Middle-of-the-funnel services like specialty care and surgeries are much more lucrative than top-of-the-funnel services, yet depend on lower acuity touchpoints to feed patient volume. Without a full top-of-the-funnel, health systems won’t be able to feed volumes for more profitable services.
  • Competition for lower-acuity, top-of-the-funnel services is heating up as giants like CVS, Walgreens, Optum, Walmart Health, Apple, and Amazon bolster their consumer health offerings.  
  • If health systems lose the top-of-the-funnel to these new entrants, they will lose control of the patient relationship and will depend on these massive organizations to feed higher-acuity volumes and to survive. 

Who will win the funnel wars?

  • Will the Amazons and Apples of the world win The Funnel Wars? Or perhaps a health system or multiple health systems? The answer has yet to be determined, but with the top five Fortune 500 companies (1. Walmart 2. Amazon 3. Apple 4. CVS Health 5. UnitedHealth Group) investing billions into their health offerings, it will be a tight race.  
  • The Funnel Wars will end in a place where we have a large, nationwide offering that integrates the full consumer experience. As more entrants join healthcare’s gold rush, this integration will become more challenging.  
  • Many health systems still think this is an esoteric threat because no one player has completely figured it out. CVS seems to be the biggest threat to health systems due to proximity to consumers, close relationship with Labcorp, and intention to convert locations to “Health Hubs”.
  • It’s easy to look at stumbling efforts to “figure out” healthcare (I.e., Haven, Walmart Health) and think that the disruptors are failing. The problem with this thinking is that it discounts the learnings these giants glean from their efforts that they will apply to future attempts.
  • In order to disrupt an existing model, you need to improve access, convenience, and cost. Health systems are committed to quality – often to the detriment of cost – while innovators come in at lower cost and build up to higher quality.