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Providers Lag as Healthcare Consumers Set Agenda

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, April 15, 2014

Unlike a big industrial company that has policies and procedures that they apply en masse across the entire organization, every doctor has the freedom to practice medicine any way he or she wants to. So there has not been the imposition of 'cookbook medicine' on doctors.


Behind Retailers' Healthcare Strategies, Operational Know-How


HLM: Customer satisfaction has been a mantra in retail forever. Why is it such a challenge in healthcare?

CW: Whether it's the pharmaceutical companies, device makers, payers, or providers, nobody considers the patient as their customer so they've never tried to come up with solutions that were consumer-friendly or consumer-centric.

The only time that was considered valuable was the physicians' time. So the economics is around how much you pay the physicians and the clinicians and how much of their time is used. Whereas, if you look at other industries, they view consumers' time as valuable.

They are trying to come up with solutions to save the consumers' time. How many new healthcare solutions do you see that say 'we can decrease the time it takes to get an appointment or the amount of time it takes to visit the doctor or the time in the waiting room?'

Nobody cares about that in healthcare, whereas in every other industry they do.

HLM: Your survey showed that people ages 35–54 were most receptive to new care delivery models. Why?

CW: Younger people don't go to doctors and aren't ever sick. It's difficult to get them engaged in healthcare service models when they don't use them. In the 35–54 age group you have people who are young parents going to the doctors all the time with ear infections and bumps and bruises.

If you have new care delivery that cuts the time in half, they are interested.

They are also getting into their 50s where they start to have some of their own problems and in many cases they are managing the cases of other people such as their parents. They're very interested in technologies that help them better manage someone else's healthcare more efficiently because they have a full-time job. They're busy. If they can do things over the phone, using apps and other remote services they're all in for that.

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2 comments on "Providers Lag as Consumers Set Agenda"


jim Cullen (4/27/2014 at 11:40 AM)
Excellent article. Let us all embrace consumer directed health care. It is the only thing that can save us from a government run system which is the anathema of our free market system. Price transparency, patient portals, providers who put the customer first are key ingredients of a feasible consumer directed system. We need the current providers to grasp these concepts and move to fully implement them.

pete.kelley (4/15/2014 at 8:10 PM)
Americans will have to have a serious discussion about medical liability reform, if the "retail healthcare" model comes to pass. If the "doctor" diagnoses and treats the rash based upon a smartphone picture, but the patient doesn't notice and mention the lymphadenopathy, is the doctor liable for not diagnosing the patient's lymphoma?