Are Healthcare Consumers The New Payers?

McKinsey wrote in—Enabling Healthcare Consumerism—that consumers now control more than $330 billion of annual out-of-pocket healthcare spending and “the choices they make have the potential to affect 61% of all healthcare spending”.

That single statement is all one needs to understand to know why

This is a direct result of the large increases in the average deductible.

What does this mean for providers?  It means I decide what services I purchase and from whom I purchase them.

In the same paper, McKinsey found that over eighty percent of the people they surveyed believed digital solutions are the most effective way to perform healthcare activities.

Kaufman Hall’s “2017 State of Consumerism in Healthcare” reported that ninety percent of providers replied that improving the consumer/patient experience is a high priority, yet only eight percent of health systems stated that they have implemented some digital consumerism solutions with some demonstrated success.

The report went on to say, “Building digital capabilities should be integral to organizations’ efforts to improve the end-to-end consumer experience, yet many are taking a more siloed approach that is disconnected from a broader consumer engagement strategy”.

So, what do we know?

  • Consumers control 61% of healthcare spending
  • Over 80% of consumers want to manage all aspects of their healthcare digitally
  • 90% of providers call consumerism a high priority
  • Only 8% of providers are actively trying to implement digital consumerism solutions

Why is digital consumerism a business imperative? An article listed many internal provider business drivers of consumerism.  And there is the underlying failure point.  Consumerism is being driven by only one thing—consumers.  By the +80% of the people who want to access and engage digitally.

The underlying unmet business driver is the need for providers and payers to understand and meet consumer expectations.

There is a great disconnect between the discussion of patient experience and the discussion of consumerism.  Patient experience initiatives do one thing.  They measure, “How did we do when the patient was receiving care?”

Patient experience initiatives do not include any of the experiences patients have pre- and post-treatment.  They do not include any of the experiences of consumers—prospective patients.  And they do not account for anyone’s expectations.

There are more than 165,000 health-related apps on iTunes that do 165,000 different things.  iTunes is where people go to manage their health.  Get an app.  Get several.  And they go to the web.  The one place they do not go to meet their health needs is to your health system’s consumer portal and the reason they don’t go there is that your system doesn’t have a consumer portal.

Consumers, patients, and prospective patients are the new payers.  They are your customers and prospective customers.  Consumerism is the same thing as customer experience.  People who understand this know that consumers are not happy with what they are experiencing.

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