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David Slifka, Vice President, Commercial Enablement

Patients? Consumers? Patient-Consumers? 

Enough already. Healthcare is still missing the point. 

Gone are the days of solely reactive patients who schedule appointments with their PCPs and remain loyal to a single healthcare provider. Today, patients expect more from their healthcare experience, akin to what they receive as consumers in other industries. Health systems must involve providers at the organizational level to ensure these expectations are met. 

As consumer-type patients (choose your own name) become increasingly prevalent, the healthcare industry must adapt and embrace digital health strategies that cater to their needs and expectations.

Patients and Consumers Are Converging

The rise of consumerism in healthcare is evident in the way patients prioritize convenience. 

According to the 2022 Healthcare Insights study by CVS:

  • 92% of patients consider convenience a critical factor in choosing a healthcare provider
  • 58% of patients would be interested in treatment without visiting a provider’s office or hospital
  • 55% of patients would use retail clinics for preventive care

Millennials and Gen Z, who are getting older and starting families, seek efficient and seamless experiences in their healthcare journeys. As a result, healthcare providers must offer innovative solutions to meet these evolving demands. Otherwise, they risk not attracting younger patients or losing the ones they have through their digital side door

Technology plays a significant role in bridging the gap between healthcare and consumerism. Still salient (if not more now than ever) – Accenture’s COVID-19 Healthcare Provider Survey in 2020 revealed:

  • 60% of patients were willing to use technology for communication and disease management

With employers offering more digital healthcare solutions to their employees, the adoption of digital health is poised to increase even further.

Data Liberation: A Double-Edged Sword

The advent of electronic health records (EHRs) brought about a remarkable breakthrough in making patient health information (PHI) accessible. Patients now have more ownership over their care journeys, thanks to the influx of data from various digital health tools such as wearable devices and health apps. 

However, this deluge of data presents challenges for providers and health systems.

The data generated by these tools may not always have clinical value, leaving healthcare professionals uncertain about acting upon or prescribing treatment based on this information. 

Trusting all the data presented also becomes a concern. 

Despite the empowerment patients feel, it is challenging to translate this vast amount of data into actionable insights for healthcare providers. That’s why it’s important to allow clinicians to vet digital solutions before implementation. 

The Case for Cost – Location – Service – Comfort

Healthcare organizations need to focus on factors like cost, location, service, and comfort to attract and retain the growing population of consumer-type patients. Value-based care tools like Annual Wellness Visits (AWVs) offer a powerful way to improve patient outcomes and increase health system revenue. 

The AWV, free for qualifying patients, has shown a 5.7% reduction in overall healthcare costs for patients who participated.

Despite its benefits, only 19% of patients undergo an AWV. However, leveraging digital health solutions such as Xealth has helped many providers encourage eligible and existing Medicare patients to participate in AWVs. Our clients anticipate an 80% completion rate of AWVs and increased patient engagement through platforms like MyChart.

It’s Past Time to Embrace the Change 

As the healthcare industry evolves, embracing consumerism and digital health strategies is no longer an option but a necessity. The convergence of patients and consumers has paved the way for a more proactive and demanding patient population. Health systems must adapt by prioritizing convenience, leveraging technology, and offering personalized care experiences.

Platforms such as Xealth play a vital role in consolidating and sorting data from disparate digital health tools, providing clinicians with a holistic view of their patients. The centralized reporting structure of a digital command center allows health systems to track and evaluate the use and performance of digital health solutions. 

Additionally, Xealth’s centralized integration suite resolves governance, technical, and clinical challenges, ensuring seamless incorporation of tools into the EHR.

It’s past time to get up to speed on digital health and consumer-oriented strategies – a loose collection of point solutions isn’t enough. Your competitors, including retail, are attracting and retaining populations of consumer-type patients while improving patient outcomes and optimizing health system revenue, but you can still catch up.  

To witness the power of these solutions firsthand and embark on a journey toward patient-centric, digitally-driven healthcare, schedule your consultation today! 

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