How is technology supporting healthcare consumer behaviour?

From passive recipients to active participants, our role in healthcare as patients and consumers has changed

By Karin Bauer, VP Client Services, SGK Health based in the US

From passive recipients to active participants, our role in healthcare as patients and consumers has changed. Consumer expectations have changed, so how can we engage with increasingly savvy shoppers in this dynamic healthcare landscape?

Obviously, transparency and access to information have been factors in the changing healthcare world. We all have a better understanding of our health with the assist of technology, and we have the capacity to bring that knowledge into our doctor’s office to enable real-time conversations with them.

On a global, macro level, there has been a shift to value-based care, and now Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), part of the US Department of Health and Human Services, is reimbursing providers and/or hospitals for better patient outcomes. What drove this shift? No surprises here: technology.

Now, instead of looking at how one patient is doing in a hospital, we have the capability to monitor an entire hospital to see the entire population health. Providers are now looking at how they can change their model to reflect healthier populations.

The result we’re seeing is a lot of integration of people and data — expanding the opportunity for a big data healthcare system.

In general, moving from a treatment model to a prevention model is less expensive, which is a huge motivator for the healthcare industry.

On the other hand, this is shifting the cost of care. Providers need to provide better outcomes, otherwise they will not get the reimbursement, and in turn, we as consumers are seeing higher deductibles.

At the end of the day, as consumers pay more, they are also becoming more careful and discernible healthcare shoppers. Here are a few more ways consumers are responding:

  • Embracing new technologies
  • Being more selective in choosing care and care providers
  • Delaying and forgoing care

Here are seven ways technology supports consumer behaviour and the focus on prevention:

  1. Big data
  2. Genetic mapping
  3. Artificial intelligence
  4. Telemedicine
  5. Hand-held real-time on-demand Dx and solutions
  6. Wearables and bio-sensors
  7. Opt-in clinical studies in the cloud

Through data-driven care and metrics, we are also seeing a rise in new levels of care personalisation and predictive modelling. Virtual visits and home care is a trend you may see more of in 2018.

From passive recipients to active participants, our role and expectations in healthcare as consumers and patients has been fundamentally redesigned.

Successful companies will leverage this change and make emotional connection with their brand a part of their broad strategy, involving every function in the value chain – from product development and marketing to sales and services.


About Karin Bauer: Trained in science and journalism, Karin discovered two developmental cancer therapies before honing her research skills to focus on telling compelling stories about products and organisations that move markets.

SGK is a leading global brand development, activation and deployment company that drives brand performance. By creating brands, helping sell brands, producing brand assets and protecting brand equities, SGK helps their clients achieve higher brand performance.

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