Healthcare consumerism may feel like a current buzzword, but healthcare has been chasing the idea of value-based, consumer-centric care for more than 10 years. It was 2008 when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) started to emphasize a focus on patient value rather than volume. Two years later, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was implemented, placing even more importance on delivering quality care to patients and rewarding providers based on quality rather than quantity.

According to a recent Oliver Wyman survey of National Business Group on Health (NBGH) members, 90% don’t believe that healthcare will continue the current status quo. It also found that 70% of respondents predict value-based care will dominate healthcare by 2030.

Over the last decade, consumers have been driving innovation in nearly every industry, demanding increasing convenience, personalization and quality. You see it everywhere: next-day shipping on Amazon, commercial-free TV on Netflix, and Uber and Lyft rides on demand. Consumers’ growing expectations aren’t limited to their experiences in retail, travel, entertainment or hospitality—and they are beginning to make the same demands from their healthcare experience.

Although healthcare may still be behind other industries in terms of meeting today’s ever-increasing consumer demands, we are making changes. The question is: How do we continue to evolve to give people what they want?

Knowing is half the battle in healthcare consumerism

To meet the demands of today’s highly engaged consumers, we must know what it is they want. Looking at how they search for healthcare and what they look for is a good start. Are they more interested in cost of care or high satisfaction ratings? How do they want providers to communicate with them? Are they open to using easy access services like nurse advice lines and telehealth?

Telehealth has room to grow

The innovation of telehealth is a step in the right direction. It provides easier access to care and delivers an on-demand experience. But offering telehealth isn’t enough. How do we take telehealth to the next level and supply what healthcare consumers want? We need to better anticipate consumer needs, further improve access, personalize the experience and find ways to use technology and data in ways they find beneficial.

Convenience and quality

Today’s busy healthcare consumers are seeking out the most convenient ways not only to access healthcare, but also to engage with the healthcare system. They are more familiar with technology than any previous generation and eager to use it to their benefit. Some consumers may be more interested in convenience than quality; they may even choose convenience over quality. But healthcare organizations must find ways to provide both.

“Consumers are changing, and we’d all be smart to find ways to adapt quickly. The reward will be evident in increased satisfaction and loyalty—and ultimately, in healthier individuals and populations, better care outcomes and reduced costs,” says John Erwin, CEO of Carenet Health.

Download our infographic to learn more about the rising tide of healthcare consumerism.

As the consumer changes, so should the business of healthcare. Contact us to help your organization meet these changing needs by engaging with consumers, for the better.