Report: Consumers have become savvier about healthcare

SUMMARY: According to Wolters Kluwer consumers have become savvier about healthcare: they see differences in their healthcare, they know care and medications may cost more, and they believe variations have a number of causes—but mainly result from lack of collaboration across care teams or the system.

Providers and payers are preparing for a cadre of tougher policies on everything from sharing patient data across a broader network of healthcare players to more pricing transparency, including real-time pricing information about medications. Hospital leaders are making tough decisions on how to squeeze further costs out of the system and more effectively manage care over the next few years. And, consumers are contemplating the best ways to manage their own health under the burden of higher costs, new models of care, and rules on benefits and coverage.

A majority of consumers, hospital executives, physicians, and nurses agree (98%) there are substantial differences in costs and in the ways that healthcare top risks to consumers when clinicians prescribe medications are delivered. Whether they are among the haves or the have nots, live near hubs of medical academia or in rural areas, there was neither relief nor exception to the variations that people see. When differences exist, risks increase.

Drug costs are a punching bag, but it’s not the thing that is driving up overall consumer costs. It’s unfair that patients get different care randomly depending on where they go. It’s this that enormously drives up costs and demands new approaches to ensure consistent care and cost.”

My Take:

Those of us in the industry know that healthcare in America is overly complicated with a lot of players. Consumers want simplicity and since THEY are paying want more choices because they are paying through the nose via higher insurance premiums.

The drug industry has become a punching bag but let’s be honest they have been slow to react to the changing marketplace and have done little to try and regain the trust of skeptical patients. Overpaid CEO and high priced drugs make headlines along with stories of people who suffer because they can’t afford medications. Why drug companies don’t simplify patient assistance programs is puzzling.

DTC marketers need to recognize that patients are wielding their power as “consumers of healthcare”. DTC needs to focus less on clinical benefits and address more on how those benefits affect patients via quality of life.