Report: Consumer Engagement in Healthcare Emerges in Unexpected Areas

The predictions that healthcare would be “going retail” and become increasingly consumer-centric are being realized already, according to a new report of consumer e-health trends.

“Health plans, providers, and life sciences companies face a challenging opportunity. The large gaps that exist between what consumers report they have done and what they say they may do suggest there is an expanse of unfilled consumer demand,” write the authors of the new Deloitte report, “Health Care Consumer Engagement: No One-Size-Fits-All Approach.

“Organizations that figure out how to address their customers’ needs for better informational and digital support may strengthen satisfaction and retention through increased engagement, while also enhancing the value of the services and products they deliver,” the authors continued.

Deloitte’s survey of consumers revealed three key areas where consumer engagement is changing:

  1. Partnering with providers
  2. Tapping online resources
  3. Relying on technology

In general, more consumers consider themselves partners with physicians in their care, with 34 percent of survey respondents strongly believing that doctors should encourage patients to research and ask questions about their treatment, and 58 percent feel that doctors should explain treatment costs to them before decisions are made, the report states. Use of online portals and physician/hospital scorecards is growing, particularly among millenials, the survey found. Deloitte noted that use of scorecards when researching providers grew from 31 percent to 49 percent in two years, among millennials.

Additionally, certain groups of consumers are becoming more engaged with their care than others. These groups include:

  • Consumers with major or multiple health issues
  • Younger consumers
  • Higher income individuals, even as engagement is increasing among several economic categories

“Although an increase in consumer engagement is evident, the change is taking place slowly. The pace could pick up if health plans, providers, life sciences companies, and other stakeholders take advantage of opportunities to increase engagement by accelerating development of online resources that provide the trusted, accurate, and easy-to-understand information consumers want and the types of health technologies consumers find most useful,” the authors wrote.

Click here for a summary of the report and here to download the report.

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