April 22, 2015

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Consumerization of Healthcare – Beginning of a new Era!!!

In the last two decades, the world has witnessed a huge amount of technological advancements emerge. The Omnipresent nature of Mobile devices, emergence of Internet of Things , Machine to Machine (M2M) technologies  are drastically changing the way the consumers are empowered in consuming the services in wide array of industries including Banking, Insurance, Automotive and others.

Healthcare Industry is no exception and Consumerization in Healthcare is emerging as a stronger phenomenon like never before.  Once considered a domain of product companies, consumerization is becoming a key trend in Healthcare industry spanning across its sub segments including Payors, Providers and Life sciences companies.

Consumerization is generally defined as “ Reorientation of product and service designs around the end user “.  In Healthcare context, Consumerization is about the changing role of consumers ( patients ) from being a reactive recipient of care to playing a more proactive role in managing their own health, deciding their payment plans, being better informed about the choices available and demand more quality of service.

For example, the advent of wearable devices has empowered many consumers to measure and track their daily health for some of the vital parameters such as Blood Pressure, Glucose levels, Body temperature, calories intake vs calories burnt etc..   On the other hand, the advancements in mobile and Information technology have also enabled the physicians to constantly monitor their patients health and proactively advise / alert on deviations in their health patterns, so that they can quickly take necessary corrections, there by leading to increased wellness and healthcare costs.

Some of the other key interesting statistics reflecting consumerization of Healthcare worldwide:

1. The mobile health technology industry is expected to reach a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 61% by 2017 Research and Markets

2. By 2017, 50% of mobile users are expected to download a health app. Research and Markets 

3. Remote patient monitoring is expected to save the world’s healthcare systems up to $36 billion. Jupiter Research 

4.  80% of physicians are using mobile technology to provide patient care. 2nd Annual HIMSS Mobile Technology Survey

5.  30 million wearable health devices were shipped in 2012, a 37% increase over 2011. ABI Research

6.  75 million US adults used their mobile devices to access health information in 2012, up from 61 million in 2011.  Manhattan Research

Consumerization in Healthcare makes it imperative for different stakeholders of the Health ecosystem such as Payors, Providers, Life sciences companies to understand the nuances of their end consumers / patients and come out with more innovative business models that will redefine the way they engage with the consumers in terms of increased touch points with improved health outcomes.

Information Technology companies would play a vital role in implementing tools and systems that increase the consumer engagement through integration of disparate patient system records, clinical records, Claim records from different healthcare ecosystem stakeholders including Payors, Providers and Pharma companies.  

As noted by one of the popular Heathcare consultant : “ Decisions regarding which technologies and services will be adopted in healthcare will be based on whether the benefits outweigh the costs. Compassion, empathy, and human connection will always be critical components to a holistic model.  Incorporating the latest technology into this emerging consumer-centric model, whereby “virtual” house calls or biometric wearables that facilitate diagnoses without ever leaving the comfort of our home, might just be the real disruptive innovations that drive the future of healthcare”.

On the whole, the consumers are now empowered to be more of proactive self health managers, rather than mere reactive Patients. Consumerization of Healthcare would be a revolutionary force that would change the dynamics of Healthcare Industry and it would be an exciting and enriching times ahead for all the stakeholders of the Healthcare industry!!!