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How Real is Healthcare Consumerism?

By Gregory A. Freeman  
   April 04, 2016

Mixed reviews on consumerism
South Nassau's Bogen expects to see the consumerism movement grow in the outpatient sector but says he hopes it doesn't achieve any more presence in inpatient care than it already has.

"I still believe it's crass to call them consumers," he says. "On the outpatient side, it's more fitting that people will shop for price, and you could argue that much of the outpatient services are commodities, but I don't believe that to be true from an inpatient perspective, and I would hate to have people make what ultimately could be a life-and-death decision on the basis of cost."

Still, Herzog says he sees consumerism as a tide that won't be turned back, so he advises healthcare organizations to accept the change and respond accordingly.

"We have to look at this as a great opportunity to serve people better, and that's going to mean we have to be different," Herzog says. "Instead of fighting to maintain the status quo and get more market share, which is what most of us are doing, we need to sustain and preserve the best parts but make the changes that consumers need from us. While only a few organizations are pioneering this approach, the intellectual acceptance of the need for this transformation is an important first step."

Gregory A. Freeman is a contributing writer for HealthLeaders.

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