Health disparities are impacting health outcomes around the United States, and patients across the nation are taking note. As the ultimate consumer, patients are demanding easier communication with healthcare professionals, quicker access to care, and higher quality outcomes. As consumerism grows, healthcare leaders struggle to bridge the gap between what currently exists and what their patients want. In essence, the modern healthcare consumer wants the same experience they get from any other brand they spend their money on. They want a personalized healthcare experience that treats them like the unique individual they are, with appropriate acknowledgment for taking an interest in their health.
The Response of Healthcare Leaders
With the pressure of consumers looming, healthcare leaders cannot afford to put off strategic decision-making. Unfortunately, the decisions that need to be made require leadership to change from a way of thinking that has governed healthcare for decades. The status-quo healthcare model is outdated and antiquated, and the leadership roles open to the modern health professional are perfect opportunities for changing a broken system. Leadership in any sector has a positive career outlook, but for healthcare, organizing and creating the future of the American healthcare system makes the choice more enticing. Public health careers can change a nation.
A Look Into the Future
As many healthcare leaders and executives are starting to realize, the future of healthcare needs to take a greater interest in consumer-centrism. This means promoting and recruiting individuals who are collaborative, inventive, creative, value-based, and forward-looking. This need for innovation has many healthcare companies looking outside the industry for new leadership, especially as trends of technological advancement, financial performance, and provider shortages require unorthodox attention and will propel the need for change. Healthcare leadership needs a level of courage and commitment that hasn’t been popular in times past, as calculated risks are a part of the new healthcare industry. Meeting patient demands and needs is unchartered territory when looking at the influence of digital services like telehealth. Patients want to be in control of their healthcare journey from choosing their provider all the way to how they access their bills for payment. The new design for healthcare must respond to these patient demands.
The Financial Limitations
One of the key complaints concerning the healthcare system is cost. In spite of the Affordable Care Act, many Americans are extremely frustrated and financially strapped by the costs of medications and medical services. Finances are a limitation for the consumer, and as costs continue to rise, patients are demanding changes to care models in ways that will deliver more value. Statistics show that about 30% of employees enroll in high deductible plans to help save money on premiums. As a result, the expenses of healthcare services are evaluated against the level of care and services received.
Many consumers are finding that their healthcare investments, though an effort to positively impact their health, aren’t providing the returns that were expected. With the pop-ups of nontraditional care and consolidation of the market, healthcare providers are going to be fighting harder for consumer attention. Value-based services are critical to developing consumer loyalty, and healthcare leadership is tasked with creating these care models.