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The Role of Consumerism in Healthcare

The Role of Consumerism in Healthcare [Trends leaders should know about]

Across industries, the world around us has made significant advances to the ways in which they interact with consumers. Yet, the role of consumerism in healthcare has been undervalued as the industry has been slower to adapt to the changing demands of consumers.

Today’s patients are no longer just comparing their experiences within healthcare, but also outside of it – such as to exceptional experiences provided by organizations like Amazon, Apple, or Starbucks. And today’s patients have access to an unprecedented amount of information that allows them to be more engaged and empowered in their healthcare experiences.

Comparatively, healthcare is more complex and there is more on the line – yet there is much we can learn from other industries. Consider commonalities such as employee empowerment to solve a customer’s problem, consistency of the experience across multiple locations, and easy comparisons of products, services and costs for savvy decision-making.

Through our extensive healthcare research across the country, we have seen several themes emerge that healthcare leaders should know about – they highlight how the role of consumerism in healthcare is making an impact with every interaction, in every phase of the journey.

  • Patients are less tolerant of wait times, and will switch providers wait times are problematic. Healthcare leaders should consider how to not only lessen wait times, but also to mitigate the impact of wait times.
  • Technology to manage health needs is not just an added benefit – it is an expectation. This includes accessing care providers, managing appointments, and viewing records and results.
  • Patients are demanding price transparency before their visit/treatment. And pricing is impacting their decision-making. High deductible plans are creating a need for them to be savvy consumers, such as comparing pricing across hospitals, brands, and services – even foregoing elective screenings or services if their out of pocket cost is too high.
  • There is an expectation that healthcare providers and staff be empowered to help them solve problems; they are inpatient with a depersonalized process that does not take into account their unique needs.

Despite these evolving trends that underscore the role of consumerism in healthcare today, some things will never change – such as the importance of having a personal connection with a healthcare provider. Healthcare will never be the same as finding the best deal on a new laptop or getting your favorite coffee made the exact same way at locations across the country. However, hospitals today must build loyalty through knowing what today’s consumers want and enabling patients get the most value from their healthcare experiences.

Each segment and market are unique. Do you know what is most important to your customers, and how well you are performing? Use research-based insights to discover priorities for meaningful action-planning and change.

For a case study of how to find, define and develop a relationship with your target audience, click here.

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Destination Medicine, Experience Management Healthcare, Health Brand Management, Healthcare Marketing Strategy, Patient Experience Management

John M. McKeever Executive Vice President

John McKeever works with clients to develop market insight to deliver exceptional customer experiences, revitalize their brands, or enter new markets. He has worked with...

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