A new healthcare market structure is emerging, in which consumer plays a pivotal role in the business of healthcare. Consumerism has been making roads into healthcare industry since a decade. Patients increasingly have been acting as consumers having choices in their healthcare options. Patients are now trying to make the best decision for quality and cost just as they do with other commodities.
Earlier, patients seeking information about a care provider had access only to the most basic data. Hence, their treatment decisions were based on minimal factors such as insurance coverage and the availability of the care needed.
Advent of Informed Consumers in Healthcare
Now providers need to give more information to consumers and patients in the market. Consumers are well informed about transparency, telehealth, medical billing, payment systems, and technology. Consumers approach their healthcare experience differently and look for tools and services that are in sync with their health plans and lifestyles.
Healthcare consumers are gaining control over how and where their healthcare budget is getting spent.
Both care providers as well as consumers are operating in a challenging world today. As consumers bear costs associated with their healthcare expenditures, they are looking for billing and payment systems that are easy to use and understand. These empowered consumers prefer better products, higher quality of services and a better experience with the healthcare providers.
Changing Solutions by Care Providers
To address the situation, some companies are embedding their systems into a wider consumer experience such as offering reward programs. There is a need for transparency, tools and incentives and new financing options to help consumers choose the most effective services. All the major healthcare industry players have a role to play in this new age of healthcare consumerism.
The shift from volume-based healthcare to a value-based one involves a greater risk and can be painful if not prepared!
Care providers are going through an extensive learning period during this transition. We see significant investments in existing infrastructures having Pophealth Data Analytics.
Acquiring insurance licenses is also something that the care providers are opting for. There is a need for Clinical Engagement model that enables care providers to manage the population outside the hospitals.
To create an engaging ecosystem for the consumers, healthcare entities are combining innovative financing with offers related to healthcare or other industries. Improving the user experience, patient portals, mobile friendly interfaces, app-device integration, consolidating wellness data, patient email programs, etc. foster an engaging ecosystem for the consumers.
Healthcare entities need to enter the value chain early and educate consumers on responsibilities and risks to encourage positive patient experiences. A digital and wellness platform for the patient would serve as a knowledge base for the patients. Such platforms would provide all the necessary information and the functions needed by consumers to make an informed decision.
The benefits of consumerism will most clearly emerge in the areas of wellness and prevention, disease management, and care utilization.