Sunday, March 10, 2013

Health Care Innovation Forum :  Consumers, the Unseen Revolution
Consumerism is becoming – finally – more and more a driver of change.
Stephen Schimpff, MD, professor of medicine, University of Maryland Medical Center and author of The Future of Health Care Delivery (2012)
There’s a revolution going on out there. It’s largely unseen because we focus more  on government health care policies, Obamacare,  physicians, hospitals, and insurance companies.
But it’s real and likely to shape the future.
The revolution has three elements:
·         The rise of the social media -  blogs, Fcebook, You Tube, Twitter,  Google, Linkedin – and consumers making their voices and choices made through these media.

·         Health savings accounts linked to high deductible plans, which are now being offered by 30% or more of large employers snd are now owned by more than 15 million Americans.

·         Self-insured health plans offered by large employers, and more and more by small employers, which are exempt from many Obamacare provisions  and allow workers the right to choose how much coverage they want and to reject government plans and to select less expensive plans and keep the savings.

The Power of Health Care Consumers
If  you don’t believe in the power of consumers,  look at 401Ks, which were introduced in 1978 and are now owned by 50 million Americans.   Health are consumerism is about the power of personal ownership,  personal choice, and personal knowledge.

Here's  how Doctor Schimpff explains what's transpiring in consumer-land:
Patients are coming to want and expect to be treated like a valued customer.  What do the patients want? They want service – good service.  The increasingly understand that quality and safety are not ideal so they are looking for and expecting high levels of safety and quality.  Perhaps most of all is respect, respect for their person, confidentiality, and the quality of their care. But also patients want convenience and responsiveness.  They don’t want to travel long distances, wait long times in the “waiting room,” nor be put on indefinite telephone hold.  They want interaction by email and other electronic methods.  And finally, patients increasingly expect to close the information gap – they expect the playing field between patient and doctor to more level in the future.

Tweet:  Health consumers are driving change – through the Net,  health savings accounts,  self-insured plans - and  they expect respect and service.


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