Consumerism in Healthcare
Some of my remarks on the growing role of consumerism in healthcare were recently featured in an article in Becker’s Hospital Review, titled, “6 Trends in an Era of Consumer-Driven Healthcare.” For the benefit of the readers, I have decided to share my complete remarks here. I told Bob Spoerl:
A rise in consumerism is impacting both hospitals and healthcare systems, in that greater access to information is causing patients to become more inquisitive, more skeptical. and more demanding. Consumerism is having an effect on cost, quality, and access. Utilizing price comparison tools, such as those offered by Castlight Health, patients now can understand the financial implications of their care decisions, more credibly request discounts from high-cost providers, and direct themselves towards more affordable providers. Consumerism is also changing the quality of care that patients receive. Using quality metrics provided to them by payers and by governmental agencies, patients are now more empowered than ever to base their choice of provider based on prior outcomes experienced by that provider. Finally, consumers are now increasingly accessing care in new and more user-friendly venues, such as CVS MinuteClinics and ambulatory care centers, rather than in more traditional clinical settings. As a result, hospitals and healthcare providers must work hard to compete on access as well as on cost and quality.