The healthcare industry has changed over the years, but perhaps the health crisis of 2020 expedited this evolution even further. Not only has the way medical care is offered expanded, but patients themselves have transformed to become more informed consumers.
Recently, healthcare industry leaders were polled by Definitive Healthcare and were asked about healthcare trends that they believe are most important.
The results of the survey show that consumerism ranks among the top trends in healthcare. Patients are becoming increasingly informed about how they choose to receive medical care and are approaching it more as consumers rather than patients.
More specifically, 14.4 percent of the votes tallied in the Definitive Healthcare survey went to consumerism as one of the top trends influencing the healthcare landscape today.
Patients are no longer simply seeking medical care. Now, they’re doing their due diligence in terms of how and where to obtain it. The term ‘consumerism’ can safely be used to refer to the modern patient who comparison-shops for health care, just like they would with any other product or service they were purchasing. Not only is the quality of care taken into consideration, but so is cost and convenience.
Consumerism is Changing the Face of Healthcare
The results of the Definitive Healthcare poll are in line with the trajectory of the healthcare industry, particularly in light of the ongoing pandemic. For instance, both patients and healthcare providers are increasingly adopting telemedicine, despite initial hiccups and hesitation to make the switch to a digital healthcare platform. In fact, recent data found that patients are much more likely to use telemedicine now than they were just one year ago.
Customer satisfaction for telehealth had a score of 860 out of 1,000 on a recent poll conducted by J.D. Power. That’s among the highest scores the company has ever recorded within the scope of healthcare.
The adoption of telehealth is just one aspect of consumerism among patients, who are looking to receive more convenient and affordable medical care.
But with the rise of consumerism also comes challenges for the healthcare industry. Consumerism strives to empower patients to become more informed as to how and where to obtain medical services, and healthcare practitioners will need to deliver what patients expect and demand.
That includes not only expanding the variety of medical care facilities available — including retail medical clinics and urgent care centers — but also establishing appropriate rates of reimbursement for services rendered. In addition, consumerism will have an impact on health benefit plans with employers as patients take on more purchasing power.
Health Sharing Ministries Increase in Popularity
Anyone who seeks options other than traditional health insurance to manage the cost of medical care may find health sharing ministries a viable option. Members of health sharing programs have more freedom and flexibility in choosing the types of physicians they see rather than being restricted to the list of practitioners with the limited network of a health insurance plan.
Further, members can realize savings of as much as 30 to 40 percent off the cost of healthcare compared to health insurance.
More than 2 million Americans are already members of a health sharing ministry. If you’re thinking of making the switch to a health sharing ministry, speak with a representative at USHealthShare today to discuss your options and find out for yourself how health sharing saves money.