Paragon.Life.Sciences.Patient.Consumerism.2016.jpgAs patients take to the internet to empower themselves with knowledge, they are increasingly behaving like consumers and redefining their own journeys.

Armed with the power of choice, patients and care givers now have control over every step of their therapeutic path.

This empowerment is challenging today’s life sciences companies to dive deeper into understanding their patient populations and their behaviors.

Additionally, health care providers are being challenged to look into alternative treatment options to streamline the point of care with a focus on stronger personalized interactions and patient experience.

Recent studies show that more than 80% of patients begin their journey online. It’s time to implement integrated care pathways, greater efficiency and adherence, and faster patient throughput.

One of the greatest challenges for today’s life sciences companies is determining where they can play an impactful role in helping patients gain awareness, access and adhere to therapies.

As yet, most payers and providers have comparatively little data to assess how consumerism is likely to affect them. In fact, according to some industry reports, until recently, consumerism in the U.S. healthcare industry has moved slowly. However, several converging forces are likely to change the situation soon and result in a more dynamic market. Higher deductibles and copayments, greater transparency into provider performance and costs, and the rise of network narrowing and provider-led health plans are prodding patients to become more involved in healthcare decision making than ever before.

Patient.Consumerism.Patient.Engagement.2016.jpgHealthcare Consumerism Trends

Consumerism has been a trending topic in healthcare for several years and is rapidly
expanding.

Some key factors have been influencers in this movement are patient
satisfaction with:

  • The current state of the economy.
  • Cost of care.
  • Service quality and ease of service.

Today’s patients use mobile tools to access and manage information anywhere, anytime creating a greater expectation for personalized experience in healthcare. (In the US) Some 51% of consumers change health plans every three years or less and nearly half (45%) retain the same connection to their primary care doctor for three years or less. Healthcare providers need to recognize their patient journey in order to help retain their patients. The traditional patient journey has been linear in which a patient follows a step by step process through to a treatment of prescription.

Read AlsoPatient-Centered Approach to Healthcare on Fast Track 

What does this mean for today's physicians? 

  • Physicians need to start looking at the Patient Journey as it is today, an omnichannel, patient-centric model with mobile at its core.
  • Patients experiencing symptoms look to community resources in order to self-diagnose. Patients engaging with their physician are taking an active role in weighing their treatment options and choosing their own path. 
  • The challenge is to transition from the linear patient journey towards a consumer-driven journey. Rethinking the patient journey requires changing the physician-patient relationship and building a strong mobile presence. Education and accessibility are a priority for patients to make decisions in treatment options.
  • Patient engagement services must match the healthcare industry's escalating demands for capturing and analyzing patient data to drive insights and efficient program planning and excution for greater patient care and outcomes. 
Patients are active participants, no longer recipients of healthcare, and need to be treated as such.

By 2017, 50% of mobile users are expected to download a health app and the mobile
health technology industry is expected to reach a compound annual growth rate
(CAGR) of 61%. Remote patient monitoring is expected to save the world’s healthcare
systems up to $36 billion. Advancements in technology enable physicians to constantly
monitor their patients’ health, giving the ability to quickly take necessary corrections,
leading to increased wellness.

Patient.Consumerism.Patient.Engagement.Family.jpgPatients will increasingly expect a cycle of care in each aspect of their journey - from diagnosis through support.

For healthcare providers improving the journey for patients to meet the rising healthcare consumerism trends include creating purpose-driven tactics for every phase of the patient journey, harnessing big data and making it usable to allow consumer to better understand their health and leveraging omni-channel platforms to integrate all existing channels so patients can better manage their care - anytime, anywhere. 

Consumers are taking an increasingly active role in making healthcare decisions. Creating purpose-driven strategies to meet the requirements of this escalating trend presents opportunity for today's health providers. 
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