Rising Patient Responsibility: Healthcare Consumerism
The continuing rise in popularity of high-deductible health insurance plans has given way to something called healthcare consumerism. For the uninitiated, healthcare consumerism is an unnecessarily fancy way of saying that the healthcare industry has to get ready to start putting patients first because they are beginning to act an awful lot more like traditional customers in a traditional retail model.
Why? High-deductible health insurance plans place more of the responsibility of cost of care onto patients. This, in turn, causes them to act more like consumers, who are happy to price shop to get the best product or service for the lowest cost. They also want the best possible care experience. Therefore, it would follow that supporting patients in an era of healthcare consumerism, one that does not appear to be going away any time soon, would ultimately be the smart choice for providers, too.
Patient empowerment as a result of healthcare consumerism.
So, how does one empower patients during a time when clinicians across the board face pressure from insurers to spend less time with patients? It’s a delicate balance, but one worth considering, because as more medical expenses come out of their pockets, healthcare consumers will be only more likely to expect care that reflects what they might find at retail. This trend is presenting itself in a multitude of ways already. One of which is the ability of patients to select their experience out of a much wider range of choices that were available even 10 years ago. From telemedicine to walk-in clinics (e.g. CVS Minute Clinics) to the growing appeal of concierge medicine, the options for care are vast and often more convenient than a visit to a primary care physician.
In order for a clinical practice to be successful in a time of healthcare consumerism, traditional providers will need to take an honest look at their operations and begin implementing programs and procedures that put patient experience first. This will require directly addressing the feelings of the people they serve as it relates to the perception of the services being provided, and those providing them.
A positive patient experience doesn’t only help bring consumers back, but in a world where social media dominates and online reviews are omnipresent, it is absolutely essential for the proactive management of a practice or practitioner’s reputation. Not only can a poor experience lead to a low patient recall, it can propel a dissatisfied healthcare consumer to let the world know just how unhappy he/she is, and over multiple channels at that. Poor reviews can ultimately kill even the healthiest practices over time, and once posted, negative feedback is almost impossible to completely remove. What happens on the internet, unfortunately, tends to stay on the internet.
How Curae can help you be better equipped to deal with healthcare consumerism.
With the ability to be integrated directly into the patient intake process, our Curae solution can help practitioners smoothly address an often uncomfortable topic upfront: patient financing. As more responsibility falls to patients to fund their own care, the easier practitioners can make taking on that cost, the more likely they will be to get patient buy-in while keeping stress over financial concerns to a minimum. Curae also provides a market differentiator that could dissuade healthcare consumers from “shopping” around to other providers. Presenting a variety of financing options with an initial soft credit pull, patients can begin to evaluate what may meet their needs from the get-go, at little to no risk. To begin the process of adding Curae to your practice, visit Curae.com today.