Consumer driven healthcare is essentially putting the patients in the driver’s seat. It gives them more control over where, when, how, and from who they will receive healthcare. In the United States, healthcare is one of the most expensive things people have to pay for. However, it’s also one of the top services people have the least control over. If you were seeking a haircut or a massage, for example, you would shop around and price check. You’d read online reviews about that service and choose who you’re giving your hard-earned money to. Yet, when it comes to healthcare – control of our own well-being – patients have to blindly accept the care available to them. Below are four examples of consumer driven healthcare, and how this new trend is affecting nurses.
Four Examples of Consumer Driven Healthcare
Consumer-driven insurance plans
One of the first things people think of when they hear of consumer driven healthcare is when it comes to insurance plan options. High-deductible plans paired with health savings accounts are an example of a consumer-driven health plan. These plans put the control into the patient’s hands as far as how they spend their money. People can put money aside to pay for their own healthcare vs. paying for expensive insurance plans that cover everything. At least, that’s the idea behind it. There are obviously people out there who say that these types of insurance plans only make consumers feel like they have more control but aren’t actually as “consumer friendly” as they appear to be.
Concierge medical practices
Another example of consumer driven healthcare is in concierge medical practices. Medical practices are opening that are basically independent of health systems. Patients pay a special membership fee to visit them. Their membership fee includes free preventive healthcare. So, all of those checkups and testing that typically require a copay are included when you pay for this membership. Of course, concierge medical practices take into account your insurance as well for any care outside of what’s included as part of your membership. Medical practices such as this cater to a wealthier clientele and make them feel more in control, give them less waiting time, and allow them to seek medical care in comfort.
Home health care
Home healthcare options are another thing that is trending in the past couple of years as a result of consumer driven healthcare. More and more, aging people are seeking care inside of their home instead of going into a nursing home. This leads to more home health agencies popping up throughout the country and creates a unique, more personal element to healthcare.
Some people are just too busy to go to the doctor. Telehealth options allow them to have basic check-up appointments via telephone or video chat with a physician. Sometimes patients can access telehealth care at their place of employment, and others can actually do it from anywhere, depending on how it’s set up for them. People get frustrated or avoid seeking care because of long wait times and inconvenience. Telehealth helps consumers by letting them access care from anywhere when it’s convenient for them.
How Does Consumer Driven Healthcare Affect Nurses?
So how does consumer driven healthcare affect nurses? Well, first and foremost, it is creating even more jobs for them. Not only do nurses have the option of working in a hospital, nursing home, or medical practice, but now they can actually go into patients’ homes and care for them there. Consumer driven healthcare also holds nurses more accountable when it comes to the quality of care that they provide. Patients are feeling empowered to take more control over their healthcare. This means they are “shopping around” for the best service, so to speak. This makes it more important than ever before for nurses and the rest of the healthcare team to provide the best quality of care possible every single visit.
What are some ways you see consumer-driven healthcare changing the industry? Share in the comments below!