Analyzing the Shift toward a Consumer-Centric Approach in Healthcare

Analyzing the Shift toward a Consumer-Centric Approach in Healthcare

A patient-centric healthcare approach in this digital era means a revised definition of quality. Embracing a consumer-centric approach has become an imperative for providers so that they can adapt with changing consumer decision-making patterns and provide better experiences to their patients.

Digitalization has given rise to a new generation of healthcare consumers. Marketing for these new audiences requires a different mind-set and a different “toolbox” to handle the hurdles. Technology is evolving every day and has equipped healthcare marketers to put patients at the center. Patients shell out a hefty amount from their pocket and want nothing less than the best healthcare services. The services in healthcare are no longer limited to just cost as consumers now evaluate quality and experience in the same equation. Research highlights from the 2015 Healthcare Consumer Trends by National Research Corporation states that reputation in healthcare matters more to consumers when choosing a brand than any other industry, e.g. hospitality, retail, airline, etc.

It’s no longer a choice but the need of the hour for healthcare providers and others across the healthcare value chain to adopt the patient-centric approach for surviving in the vast competitive market of healthcare services. Patient-centric healthcare is largely dependent on advanced digital technologies. The Americans are “always on” the Internet, whether on laptops, smartphones or tablets. The Internet, therefore, connects patients, healthcare providers and payers with access to the tools that can help rationalize a healthcare system that is based on the patient-centric approach. Easily accessible, scientifically correct and accurate information empowers patients to become better-educated about their diseases/conditions, learn about the correct ways to improve their overall health, find the best practitioners and factor costs into their decision-making. Healthcare providers can have access into the patient mind-sets through various Internet and social media platforms. This can help them make informed decisions that are tailored to patient needs.

The three “E”s of consumer-centric care that consumers expect in their healthcare experience:

Empathy
The ultimate decision-maker in any industry is the end consumer, i.e., the patient in the case of healthcare. A person’s health or related diseases/conditions is a very sensitive issue for them and their family. While getting these treated, they want to feel that their health conditions are a concern for their physician, as well. Physicians should be compassionate while communicating with their patients, whether in person or on the Internet. Getting a feeling of understanding from the physicians’ end definitely adds up to the patient experience and they are well likely to consider it while coming to conclusions about treatment with their physician.

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Engagement
Patient-centric care is the solution as it revolves around continually questioning patients to assess their needs and the effectiveness of the care they are receiving. The best way for healthcare providers to embrace this approach is through focusing their efforts on fulfilling patient needs, wants and desires by listening, responding, providing and adapting. Inputs can be analyzed and implemented to provide the best experience to patients.

Empowerment
A key component of patient-centric health is to create impactful physician-patient communications that inform, influence and motivate patients to make better health decisions to improve their quality of life.

With the “tech-tonic” change brought by digital and social media, healthcare is changing its practices to provide increased patient-centric experiences. It’s high time for healthcare providers to embrace the change and leverage it as table-turning dynamics to add value to their practice and attract new patients.

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