Posts Tagged ‘healthcare consumers’



New WellPoint Plan Increases Healthcare Consumer’s Level of “Skin in the Game”

July 9th, 2013
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When Warren Buffett used the phrase “skin in the game,” he referred to company managers investing in their own companies. In healthcare, we’ve discussed how equally important it is for consumers to also have some “skin in the game,” bearing at least some responsibility for their costs of care.
 
A recent Wall Street Journal article (subscription required) discusses how WellPoint, the nation’s second-largest health insurer, has developed a group plan in which consumers would be responsible for the cost of medical services in excess of that offered by their employer plans. While WellPoint’s idea doesn’t appear groundbreaking at first, this type of plan would dramatically shift the dynamics of healthcare costs.
 
Here is how the Journal’s Anna Wilde Matthews described the WellPoint plan:
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Dealing with the Growing Power of “Medical Googlers”

November 7th, 2012
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The increased use of the internet by healthcare consumers has led to at least two types of medical conversations ironically illustrated by two different online features sharing a name: the “DocTalk” here, in which Arizona kidney specialists share treatment information on smartphones, and another “DocTalk,” where Ontario physician Stuart Foxman discusses such communications issues as the risks of physician’s giving too much information, and the growing irritation among physicians with patients who research conditions and treatments online.
 
Like it or not, these two “doc talks” are merging. While physicians and other providers are busily keeping up with changing practice parameters, medical literature and patient management (increasingly by computer, smartphone or tablet), patients are trying to keep up, too. WebMD receives more than 40 million hits a month, and anywhere from half to 80% of all Americans have used the internet to research a medical condition or symptoms. Even larger medical providers like Kaiser Permanente encourage the use of websites for gathering medical information. In addition, consumers increasingly have the ability to research and share opinions on their providers through sites like www.vitals.com.  Interestingly, the ability of consumers to rate and offer opinions on providers is not growing quite as quickly as other industries, due to reasons we’ll cover in a future post.
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Marketing 101 Revived: A New Healthcare Consumer Report

April 25th, 2012
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In my previous post, I discussed the need for healthcare companies to take a more market-focused approach to the healthcare consumer, including a more concentrated effort to segment the market and tailor strategies to different consumer groups.
 
Today, I’d like to explore the growing power of the healthcare consumer.
 
Overall, healthcare costs – both on the societal and the individual level – are increasing. Consumers are required, one way or another, to pay a greater share. So they are starting, albeit slowly, to ask questions about value. And they are interested in the value to themselves, individually, not to the population as a whole. How the consumer perceives healthcare value is an area that needs a lot of further exploration.

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