By Brent Walker, PatientBond on (Thu, Aug 18, 2016)
A decade ago, The New York Times wrote that buzzwords, “… collapse sprawling narratives into tidy verbal nuggets or distill complicated phenomena into breezy utterances.” The statement says nothing about whether such words accurately reflect the complexities they are meant to embody.
And now “healthcare consumerism” has risen to buzzword status. That’s why, as healthcare consumerism has risen to buzzword status—propelled in large part by healthcare reform—we need to revisit what consumerism means in the healthcare industry.
Healthcare Consumerism: Separating Fact from Fiction
Bigger stakes = bigger interest? Many ascribe the rise in high-deductible health insurance plans as the catalyst for healthcare consumerism, but is that leading to more informed decisions?
McKinsey & Company dissected some of the biggest theories about healthcare consumerism in its 8th annual Consumer Health Insights (CHI) survey. Capturing data from nearly 10,000 healthcare consumers across the United States, the CHI survey explored how healthcare consumers “… perceive their healthcare needs and wants, how they select providers, and how they make other healthcare decisions.” And the responses showed a large gap between common assumptions about healthcare consumers and reality.
Let’s take a look at some of the most frequently-touted misconceptions:
Myth No. 1:
Consumers bring different expectations to healthcare than to other industries.
Not true, say the McKinsey findings. Rather, more than half of the survey respondents said that “great customer service” is an important consideration for both non-healthcare and healthcare companies, with Apple and Amazon leading the list of companies that do it well. Regardless of industry, offering great value was another key factor, as were delivering on expectations and making life easier.
What does that mean for healthcare providers? You need to start acting more like a retailer, using robust tools to capture insights into your “customers” to better understand what they want, what motivates them to act, and how they want to engage with you—and then deliver on those expectations.
What does that mean for healthcare providers? You need to start acting more like a retailer.
Myth No. 2:
Consumer satisfaction depends on health outcomes.
While 90 percent of the consumers surveyed indicated that positive health outcomes influenced patient satisfaction the most, analysis of other factors showed that satisfaction was tied more closely to the empathy and support provided by nurses and effective communication before, during and after an inpatient experience.