Lyft + Blue Cross Shows the Untapped Potential of Co-Marketing Partnerships in Health Care

Who says there’s no such thing as a free ride? Blue Cross Blue Shield Association (BCBSA) announced a partnership with the ride-sharing app Lyft this week. Together, the two companies are offering patients across the country a free ride to their doctor’s appointments.

It’s a perfect co-marketing marriage between two brands: Lyft, which is positioned as the happy, friendly alternative to Uber’s evil empire, and BCBSA, which markets around delivering exceptional quality care to patients. Everyone wins: Grandma gets a free ride to her endocrinology appointment. Lyft gets introduced to a new customer. Doctors get fewer no-shows. BCBSA gets improved diabetes HEDIS scores and better reimbursements.

This innovative partnership is not just good marketing, it’s also a sign of healthcare’s tectonic shift away from fee-for-service to value-based care. It now (literally) pays to deliver an exceptional customer service experience to patients.

As a brand strategist in healthcare, I love this transition! Healthcare companies now have real financial incentive to shake off the generic “healthcare solutions”/“we care about patients”/stock-photo-of-a-smiling-doctor branding. It’s time to get bolder, to have more fun delivering exceptional patient experiences. The opportunities are endless.

Even small brand experience tactics have been shown to have a big impact on patient outcomes. Letting patients choose music to play during their surgery improves recovery, for example. There’s also studies on the impact of foot massages, hospital room paint colorsflowershospital gardenstext messages, and even physician clothing choices.

I look forward to Sutter Health and Zappos teaming to deliver custom-fit crutches to my house. Instacart and Aetna suggesting low-sodium options in a hypertensive’s shopping cart. HotelTonight helping with last-minute bookings for the family of someone in the ICU. Munchery delivering home meals to new parents in their first week out of the maternity ward.

Value-based care isn’t just great news for patients, it’s also unlocking bold opportunities for healthcare brands to redefine care.

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