April 15, 2008

Health Care Consumerism

The Deloitte Center for Health Solutions released a very interesting report on “Health Care Consumerism” which looks at five “zones” of activity: traditional health services, self-directed care, alternative and non-conventional health services, financing, and information seeking.

I recommend checking out their report for a few reasons:

1) Many of their findings ring true to me. For example:

Myth: Consumers trust their doctor to make decisions for them.
Reality: The majority of consumers want to share decision-making with their doctor; only 20% are content to let their doctor control those decisions unilaterally.

Myth: Consumers are afraid to use the Internet for clinical transactions in health care, fearing loss of privacy and security.
Reality: Consumers are comfortable using the Internet to exchange clinical information with their doctor, especially if it results in better coordination of care and improved service. (They believe their doctors should make greater use of the Internet to provide access to medical records, test results and other types of information.

2) Deloitte Consulting is a big player in this field and they are (or should be) tuned in to discussions about participatory medicine.

3) We should get used to seeing online surveys cited widely, despite their drawbacks.

I’m going to spend some time comparing their health consumer typology (24% of consumers are “Sick & Savvy” and 8% are “Online & Onboard”) with the Pew Internet Project’s communications technology typology. I wish they had a quiz so we could all identify where we fit!

Comments are welcome at e-patients.net.