Consumerism in Health Care:
How will your practice stand out?
In today’s consumer centric market, a patient’s experience with your medical practice is more than just about patient care, it’s an all-encompassing journey. From the moment a patient schedules an appointment with their primary care doctor, the care they receive is just one aspect of the patient experience. Your online reputation is also vital to your practice’s success. For instance, their interactions on your website, even billing and online refills, are essential for healthcare companies to stand out. And if your Google reviews take a downward spiral, your practice will be overlooked as consumers search for their best preventive and primary care.
As consumers search for their primary care provider, they research all the various health systems and independent practices for their health care needs. As a practice, you’ll need to understand your patient’s demographics and circumstances to provide the best patient experience. For example, if many of your patients are Millennials, chances are they’d rather pay their bills online than via the mail. If your patients are Gen X, these patients are more likely to pay their medical bills with HSA or FSA saving accounts. Creating a consumer profile for your patients is a smart way to meet the demands of a consumer centric healthcare industry today.
What Is Consumerism in Health Care?
In today’s digital world, patients are no longer just patients, they’re consumers too. Consumerism in health care allows patients to be an active participant, changing the dynamic between physician and patient. These consumerism trends allow the patient to have more influence over their healthcare decisions.
With healthcare costs continuing to rise, patients consider the possible financial burdens placed on them. Patients have access to a plethora of online resources to find a physician that best fits their healthcare and financial needs. Consumerism gives patients more control in choosing their medical practice and health care decisions.
As a physician, you probably don’t want to view your patients as consumers. When we think about consumers, we envision people waiting in lines to buy the latest Apple product, or people getting suckered into online advertising. However, an informed patient as a consumer strengthens the relationship and communication between providers and patients. By tailoring your practice to your various target consumers, as patients they will cooperate and comply with medication schedules, treatments, and have a stronger awareness of wellness management. Essentially, you are going the extra step to make your practice more consumer centric to elevate your patient’s journey.
How Do Doctors Navigate Healthcare Consumerism?
There are ways for your practice to adapt to consumerism in healthcare but still maintain true to your practice’s brand and service. One way is to be transparent and have consistent dialogue with your patients especially online, including social media. If patients can’t access information about you and your practice online, then you won’t be considered. Why is that? Patients search online for information about a certain product and services that help with their decision-making process in all aspects of their lives, including health care. Your online reputation has huge significance in this decision-making practice i.e. Google Reviews. Beyond maintaining the website and personal information, your online presence should include responses to online reviews and inquiries as well as a user-friendly, patient experience.
Another way your practice can adapt to a consumer centric model is to research the patient demographics in your area and identify patient concerns. A way to discover what your patients’ concerns are to create a questionnaire that patients can take when they’re waiting for their appointment or ask them to leave a review after the appointment. Many of your patients could be concerned about saving money, or they could be more wary about choosing a physician that has good Google Reviews. Maybe they’re more interested in working with a physician who has a good online system to schedule appointments, etc.
Whatever the concerns are, addressing their needs and finding solutions would increase patient acquisition and retention.
While this whole new world of consumerism in health care might seem scary, intimidating or out of reach, it doesn’t have to be. Find out what your existing patients’ pain points are and address them. Being open and honest is the best way to grow your practice. To achieve transparency and succeed in healthcare consumerism, your practice should be aligned with the best technology and processes. At Health Revenue 360, LLC, we can bring your practice’s patient experience to the next level with our Reputation Management Services. You will gain control of your online presence, adapt to consumerism in health care and continue to produce a successful practice.