Health care consumerism is undoubtedly changing the competitive landscape. Patient loyalty has decreased, physicians face new challenges in attracting and retaining patients, and the patient experience has taken center stage.
CMS National Health Expenditure Data found that health care expenditures account for almost 18% of the nation's annual GDP and are continuing to rise. Consumers are feeling this financial burden acutely: CMS notes that out-of-pocket expenditures represent 10% of all health care spending and will grow by 4.6% in 2019. As health care costs continue to soar, it's no surprise that consumers are taking a more active role in their care. They are becoming increasingly vocal not just about where, how, and when they get care; but also what they pay for it. As a result, patients are making more informed choices than ever.
Customer experience will play an ever-increasing role in health care. In PwC's 2018 Experience is Everything Survey, respondents overwhelmingly agreed that their experience with a company influences their purchasing decisions — and this was most true in health care where 78% said experience drives their choices.
Customer experience is important to all generations, but none more so than to millennials, now the largest generation in the United States, according to the Pew Research Center. According to Forbes, this generation has grown up in a technology-powered consumer environment where transparency, rapid delivery, and convenience are the norm.
Given these preferences, 33% of millennials reported in a 2017 survey by the Employee Benefit Research Institute that they did not have a regular doctor, compared with 15% of those aged 50 to 64. Some experts warn that moving away from a one-on-one patient-doctor relationship may be driving up costs and worsening the problem of fragmented or unnecessary care, including the misuse of antibiotics.
The challenge is determining how to compete within a broad spectrum of patient engagement inclinations and choices for care. Innovation and high-tech offerings are already breaking ground and enabling consumerism in health care, but they do not have to be the starting point for you to engage with patients on their terms.
Get started on your journey to improving the patient experience with one of these three strategies:
Cater to Chronic Care Patients
Meet Your Patients' Expectations
Be Where Your Patients Are
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