The Technology Adoption Lifecycle Applied to Healthcare

By: Eric Bricker, MD

The Technology Adoption Lifecycle was explained in Geoffrey Moore’s famous book ‘Crossing the Chasm.’  


If you are interested in innovation in healthcare and health insurance, you MUST understand and apply the Technology Adoption Lifecycle.  


It states that disruptive innovation (i.e., innovations that require behavior change) is not evenly adopted across a population.  


Rather, people segment themselves into sub-groups that adopt the new innovation differently.  


Early adopters love tinker and like new innovations just because they are new.  Early Adopters tend to not be price sensitive.  Early adopters represent 17% of a population. 


Pragmatists have a specific problem that the new innovation will solve and if they see other people using it, they will use it too.  Pragmatists are somewhat price sensitive.  Pragmatists represent 33% of the population. 


Conservatives would rather not adopt the new innovation, but if it is already built-in to something they already buy, then they will be more likely to use it.  Conservatives are very price sensitive.  Conservatives represent 33% of the population as well. 


Skeptics will never adopt the new innovation.  Skeptics represent 17% of the population. 


To spread a new innovation, one must cross the chasm between the early adopters and pragmatists with a ‘niche’ and ‘bowling pin’ strategy. 


Implications for Self-Funded Health Plans: 


  1. Better health, higher healthcare quality, and lower healthcare costs require behavior change by default.  Employee health plan innovations MUST be disruptive to be effective.  Show me a non-disruptive employee health plan innovation and I will show you one that does not work. 


  1. The Technology Adoption Lifecycle for disruptive health plan innovations applies across your employee and plan member population as well—there are early adopters, pragmatists, conservatives, and skeptics within your plan population. 


  1. The SimplePay alternative health plans are specifically designed to be ‘baked-in’ to the health insurance plan with no additional party for plan members to contact.  That ‘baked-in’ characteristic is VERY important in having the conservative members of the plan use the innovation.  If you don’t ‘bake-in’ solutions, you will lose the conservatives.  They will not engage, and the program will not be nearly as successful as it could be. 





‘Crossing the Chasm’ by Geoffrey Moore  




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