The Deloitte 2009 Survey of Health Care Consumers is worth a read. While they tout consumerism, my take is that it is superficial a best. For example just 15% of people compare hospital data for inpatient care. Those who do seek quality data do so from physicians, web sites, friends and insurance companies. ItÛªs more engagement with their provider than total empowerment that seems to be trending. As Deloitte points out, right now it is more about the perception of service, quality, cost based on oneÛªs own personal experience. Some use of objective information is rising. So take consumerism with a grain of salt.
In terms of the patient experience near and dear to my heart, I would say physicians have more to worry about. Sixteen percent of people switched docs in the last year; two out of three because of bad service. So physicians need to pay attention to the patient experience and that affects the hospitals to whom they refer.
Another area of interest is Medical Tourism. Eight percent of people leave their local community for care. Cost is a driver. One percent travel outside the country. So this nagging medical tourism notion is real and picking up some momentum even if just reflected in people starting to say health care is not local (as in my town) anymore.
And a recurring theme is that people say they want wellness but do they really? It is more that they want to be spoon fed their wellness prescription with little work involved on their part. Our biggest health care problem is people who do not want to take the initiative and responsibility for their own better health.