In a December 22 Healthcare Dive post, Associate Editor Ned Pagliarulo explores how patient-as-consumer dynamics have put pressure on hospitals and insurers to improve, spurred investment in new healthcare start-ups, and given consumers more information and choice. Below are some excerpts from the article, called "Patient-as-consumer dynamics reshaping healthcare markets," where Oliver Wyman's Tom Main offered his take:
Management consulting firm Oliver Wyman predicts new entrants will eventually capture a third of the roughly $3 trillion U.S. healthcare market as traditional players shrink by 40% over the next five years. What does this new market look like and what are the implications for cost and care?
Tom Main, a partner at Oliver Wyman and co-author of "The Patient to Consumer Revolution," believes “transparency and consumer tools are going to come to market in convenient care, in pharmacy, in diagnostics, and into simple procedures initially.” Main thinks retail pharmacy firms can leverage real-time diagnostics to improve care better than traditional PCP incumbents....“We are getting much more robust diagnostic information at point of care, in real time, with the pharmacist and the clinician present,” Main told Healthcare Dive....“consumer trust of the retail pharmacies is quite high. I would expect over a three-year frame that we are actually going to see the quality go up dramatically.”
Consumerism in healthcare has already put pressure on traditional market players and has the potential to do so in an even more dramatic fashion over the coming decade. A more transparent healthcare market would reduce inefficiency and rationalize pricing.
But it could also shift burdens onto consumers, more than they may be willing to accept. Unlike other markets, healthcare is generally consumed when the person is already sick, tired, and needs help. Asking consumers to pick the most cost-effective care at the same time may lead to consumers cutting spending on important preventative care.
Read the full article here.