Many suggest there is a disconnect between the healthcare providers and the broader consumer economy. Users within healthcare are called patients while the rest of the economy calls them consumers. Insurance companies are still called the payers despite the fact that patients now make sizable contributions to the providers. These are arguably subtle differences but ones that illustrate a source of important disconnect.

A recent Deloitte healthcare study shows how this disparity is shrinking as “the healthcare marketplace moves toward one […] grounded in value-based competition, innovation and consumer engagement.”

Five key changes are identified as patients are becoming consumers:

1. Level of engagement increases
Physicians go from making decisions to giving recommendations verified by consumers

2. Cost consciousness
Awareness of treatment options and costs is transitioning from primarily the physician to include the consumer. Access is rapidly expanding via online tools and social media.

3. Choosing providers
Source of trust is shifting from word-of-mouth to data-driven comparison shopping.

4. Measuring provider success
Primary unmet needs is expanding from access in a reasonable time frame to include the value of access, outcome, and cost.

5. High value, predictable costs
In the past, large networks of providers with enhanced access was common. In the future, expect to see smaller networks with the emphasis shifting to high performing/high value providers with predictable costs.

To see the full study from Deloitte see here.