Catching up on the best consumer health reads of 2015.

15 Healthcare Consumerism Reads For 2015

By Accolade Staff

As we look ahead to 2016, a new model of healthcare is maturing, one that’s built around the consumer and their experience in the healthcare system. This new model is highly individualized — and addresses the person in totality and not just their health status at any given moment in time.

So, just what does it take for reality to match the vision? How do we get to a world where consumers are truly engaged and empowered to live to their optimal health? Here are 15 articles that we feel represent the primary discussion themes around this important topic in 2015.

We hope you find these as thought provoking as we did and look forward to continuing the dialogue in the New Year.

Consumerism On The Rise: Why are consumer issues rising on the health agenda? Kaiser Family Foundation President and CEO Drew Altman suggests we need to look no further than the rise in the cost of deductibles to consumers compared to premiums, wages and inflation.

Consumer Playbook: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Business Innovation Factory believe the health system needs to connect and collaborate to collect all of the “stories” in healthcare to truly become consumer-centric. They created “The Narrative Playbook: The Strategic Use of Story to Improve Care, Healing, and Health” to begin that effort.

Debunking Myths: Healthcare is different than other industries. Consumers know what they want from healthcare companies. Most consumers research their healthcare options before making important decisions. Jenny Cordina, Rohit Kumar and Christa Moss tackled these myths and more for McKinsey & Company in December.

Modern House Calls: “This feels empowering: You just click a button and the doctor comes to you.” “This” is the modern house call, in which doctors are just a click away at all hours of the day via telemedicine, Abby Goodnough reported in the New York Times in July.

And Yet…: The majority of medical providers in the United States still do not use email or text messages to communicate with their patients, Niam Yaraghi of the Brookings Institution notes. Why? Economics, business and regulations — which are still high hurdles to overcome in the doctor-consumer relationship.

Problems, Solutions: In a three-part New Yorker essay, Dr. Rena Xu looks at the problems and solutions in the healthcare marketplace — starting with the fact that consumers fundamentally do not understand the basic components of a health-insurance plan, making them very difficult to purchase. In part two, she examines relationships between patients and insurers. Finally, she says it may take providers and insurers teaming up to fix health insurance — not that it will be easy.

Disruptive Disruptions: “Being a doctor without Health 2.0 tools will soon be like being a doctor without a telephone: Information Age medicine is medicine. The key to business success, however, will be to disrupt medicine without disrupting the lives of those who practice it,” Michael Millenson writes in The Health Care Blog.

Get It Right: In the Mayo Clinic’s Center For Innovation blog, Casey Quinlan discussed the health system’s inability to connect and communicate with patients — who are, after all, its customer base. She says, quite simply, we are doing patient engagement wrong and it’s past time to get it right.

Missing The Story: Doctors talk. Patients appear to listen. But patients remember little about what doctors tell them in their brief interactions, Kate Dudgeon writes in the Wall Street Journal. In fact, a study found that “40 percent to 80 percent of the medical information provided by care providers is forgotten immediately, and the greater the amount of information shared the greater the percentage forgotten.”

Changing The Market: Consumerism in healthcare is leading to greater transparency and flexibility in the health system, writes Ned Pagliarulo. Not only that, this new dynamic is forcing hospitals and insurers to improve while giving consumers more information and choice.

Contextualizing Care: Saul Weiner writes that the health system needs to make patient-centered care more than a slogan — and it starts with “contextualizing” care. That is, care providers must consider an array of factors for each patient, including emotional state, economic situation, access to care, cultural beliefs and more.

Is Healthcare Consumerism Here? Paddy Padmanabhan says “healthcare consumerism is here” — but it has yet to reach maturity, in part because healthcare consumers are unaware of those changes and choices available to them.

Get On Board: Health plans and providers will have to change the way they interact with customers, thanks to the rise in healthcare consumerism, writes Karen Appold. Consumers want and will demand simple and convenient access to services, something that has been lacking in the past.

Changing Landscape: With changes in the marketplace, healthcare is being held to the same standard as other consumer purchases, writes Andrew Ibbotson. That is forcing health systems to change how they interact with consumers — including creating new positions to ensure their customers are satisfied.

And looking ahead to 2016…

New Health Economy: The new year promises to be one of many “firsts” as the evolution of a new healthcare consumer continues, according to PwC’s Neil Versel. “In 2016, millions of American consumers will have their first video consults, be prescribed their first health apps and use their smartphones as diagnostic tools for the first time.”

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