What is Consumerism in Healthcare? How Does it affect the Healthcare System?

Consumerism in healthcare is the movement of healthcare consumers to take more control over their health and healthcare decisions. This includes choosing the right provider, being active in care decisions, and being more engaged in their own health, which can be the main definition against what is consumerism in healthcare.

This trend has been driven by a number of factors, including the rise of high-deductible health plans, the growth of health savings accounts, and the increasing availability of health information online. As a result, patients are more likely to shop around for the best price and value for their healthcare dollars.

This is good news for providers who are able to deliver high-quality, cost-effective care. However, it poses a challenge for those who are not. In order to succeed in the new consumer-driven healthcare market, providers will need to focus on delivering value-based care and building relationships with their patients. To get a deeper understanding of consumerism, read the article in full.

What is consumerism in healthcare?

Consumerism in healthcare is a movement that aims to put the patient at the center of their own care. This means giving patients the information and resources they need to make informed decisions about their health.

consumerism in healthcare
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There are many reasons why consumerism is important in healthcare. First, it can help patients save money on their care. Second, it can lead to better health outcomes. And finally, it can help patients feel more empowered and in control of their own health. But to provide the core quality of healthcare services, providers need to keep quality over quantity to first retain the patients and secondly to keep themselves informed of the trend.

Transparency in the Patient-Provider Relationship

As patients increasingly become consumers of healthcare services, they are demanding more transparency from providers. In particular, patients want to know more about the quality of care they can expect to receive, as well as the cost of services.

In response to this demand, many healthcare organizations are beginning to provide more information to patients about the quality of their care. For example, some hospitals are now publicizing their infection rates, and some physicians are posting their patient satisfaction scores.

While this trend toward transparency is a positive development, it is important to note that not all healthcare organizations are equally transparent. Some still withhold important information from patients, making it difficult for them to make informed decisions about their care.

However, pricing transparency is not without its challenges. Providers must be able to justify their prices to patients, and they must be able to negotiate with insurance companies for fair reimbursement rates. But despite the challenges, pricing transparency is becoming the new norm in healthcare, and providers who refuse to adapt will be left behind.

Quantity Over Quantity โ€“ Why Providers Need to Afloat

In the early days of modern medicine, quality care was often overshadowed by the need to see as many patients as possible. This was especially true in hospitals, where patients were often discharged as quickly as possible to make room for new ones.

This volume-based approach to care led to a lot of problems, including errors, mistakes, and unnecessary treatments. It also put a lot of stress on doctors and nurses, who were often working long hours with little rest.

Fortunately, things are changing. In recent years, there has been a shift from volume-based care to value-based care. This means that hospitals and other medical facilities are now focusing on providing better care for each individual patient, rather than simply seeing as many patients as possible. This shift is having a positive impact on patient outcomes, doctor satisfaction, and overall healthcare

How Providers are Transitioning to Value-Based Care Provision?

Transitioning Value-Based Care Provision
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One of the biggest shifts in the healthcare industry is from volume-based care to value-based care. Value-based care is a type of care that is focused on quality and outcomes, rather than the quantity of care. This shift is happening because there is a growing recognition that volume-based care is not effective or efficient. It often leads to duplication of services, higher costs, and poorer outcomes.

The transition to value-based care, however, is still in its progressing mode and is not easy, but it is essential for the future of healthcare. This type of care requires a different mindset and different systems. But it is possible, and there are already many examples of successful value-based care models. With the right commitment, providers can make the shift to a healthcare system that is focused on quality, not quantity. 

Some of the value-based transitions can be defined as;

  • Reducing overall healthcare costs of the patients and providing efficient treatments
  • Eliminating inappropriate procedures, reducing unnecessary patient visits, and re-admissions, and avoiding exceeding hospital acquirements
  • Making better communication with patients about procedures and treatments
  • Actively participating in patientsโ€™ healthcare monitoring

How a Patient as a Healthcare Consumer Perceives Healthcare Changes

In recent years, healthcare has become more and more consumer-driven. This means that patients are increasingly taking charge of their own health and making decisions about their care. As a result, it’s more important than ever for healthcare providers to understand the needs and wants of their patients.

There was a time when patients were more inclined to listen to the recommendations of providers and insurance payers for treatments. But as they are becoming financially responsible for healthcare, their willingness to follow has taken a shift. The reasons involved can be;

  • Accessible information

After April 2012, the United States Healthcare system has to provide patient portal access to EHR systems to the patients where they are able to see their health records and history and make informed decisions for their health and treatment. As 86% of the providers provide access to EHR patient portals to their patients.

  • Tracking applications

 Wearable technologies are another reason to track health changes both by the physician and patient. For example;

  1. Finger-pricking diabetes checks have now been shifted to smartphones. Blood sugar can easily be checked through a smartphone app.
  2. As of NRC Healthcare Consumer Trend Report, the survey showed a significant number of patients asking for wearable devices that can be tracked by the provider for their health issues.
  3. Veterans Department of Veteran Affairs has associated with a wearable provider Fitbit and provided 1000+ wearables to veterans to track health through digital monitoring devices.
  • Treatment accuracy

With the use of technology, patients have a clearer view of their treatment costs and the clinical visits they need. With the information on expected costs, patients as consumers reach their healthcare providers as informed patients. This helps patients to likely take treatments compared to those who deter proceeding with further clinical visits that eventually can exacerbate their health condition.

Due to financial instability, 53% of patients avoid being treated. When they are financially informed, it makes it easy for them to make decisions for their health. This is why making treatment costs transparent and accurate encourages healthcare consumers to get treatment on time.

What benefits a provider has from Healthcare Consumerism

As the healthcare landscape evolves, providers are increasingly being tasked with meeting the needs of patients who are more informed and engaged than ever before. This shift is being driven in large part by the rise of healthcare consumerism, which is giving patients more control over their health and healthcare decisions.

While some providers may view healthcare consumerism as a challenge, there are actually many benefits that come with serving patients who are more informed and engaged. When patients are actively involved in their care, they are more likely to have better health outcomes and be more satisfied with their care experience. In addition, providers who embrace healthcare consumerism can create a competitive advantage for themselves by differentiating their services from those of other providers.

Around 33% of patient-consumers are not loyal to one provider, this brings the opportunity to providers who engage in providing the desired care experience which can easily increase their number of patients significantly. In addition, providing transparency in treatment costs will reduce healthcare deferments which leads to quick revenue management and the least ratio of claim rejections.

Not only this but providers who keep themselves engaged in seeing patients are more into reaping benefits of patient-consumers along with payors to meet value-based metrics for care.

Conclusion

As the healthcare industry is now concentrating more on value-based care over volume-based care, providing healthcare to informed patients has become a challenge, which is expected to get a profound transformation in the coming years expectedly. As the definition of healthcare consumerism is evolving each year, the healthcare system should become more effective and efficient for all. With providing outsourcing medical solutions to several entities, Clinicast has years of experience in helping providers with payment accuracy and transparency through updated software and technologies complying with the HIPAA guidelines. For earning healthcare consumerism benefits and financial incentives, it is essential to have professional help. 

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