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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Independent healthcare is not feeling well

Last week, I came across an important article about the diminishing number of private-practice physicians in the U.S.  The story cited the costs involved—in both dollars and effort—when a doctor is trying to decide between opening a private practice or going to work for a large health-management organization.  Click here to see the story, which appeared in the New York Times.

Implications:   In case you hadn’t noticed, personal healthcare is becoming less personal.  If your doctor knows who you are and a little bit about you without looking at your chart, you are likely to be the exception to the rule. 

This story offers a preview of the impact that is likely to follow cuts to Medicare and private-sector health benefits (which seem to be the trend):  Hospitals and clinics will place increasing importance on operational efficiencies.  More health centers will use a team approach to treatments and scheduling… and those “between the lines” issues that cannot be found on a medical chart will increasingly be managed by the patient, herself/himself.

Does your company, product or service empower the consumer to take charge of their own wellness?  I’m thinking about things like a heart healthy menu at the restaurant or wholesome offerings at the grocery store… or any aspect of what you sell that contributes to physical fitness and overall wellness.  In the coming years, these product/service attributes are likely to be more and more valued by the consumer… as they rediscover an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

NOTE:  Another NY Times story, recently, exposed the nature of the sales process used by some pharmaceutical and health device companies.  Click here to read that story, as this issue, too, may influence consumers to ask questions and take action.

Mike Anderson, for the Elm Street Economics consumer trends blog. A service of The Center for Sales Strategy, Inc.

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