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4 Ways Healthcare Systems Will Evolve to Become More Consumer-Centric

As millennials gain more and more power over the healthcare system, the way services have been provided will change. Why? Millennials prefer convenience and worry about cost — some 45 percent don’t even have a primary care provider. Baby boomers, on the other hand, are living longer and sicker, many of them suffering from multiple, complex conditions.

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That’s why consulting and accounting firm KPMG recently put together a report on what the “inevitable” consumer-centric healthcare system of the future will look like. These are the major changes the researchers are anticipating.

1. Treating individuals as people rather than patients

Prioritizing the needs of individuals seems is by the idea of “consumer-centric,” but the report goes one step further: Healthcare systems need to endeavor to keep up with consumers’ changing needs, a stark shift from today, where they rarely seek out info on consumer preferences. In addition, KPMG recommends healthcare organizations invest in understanding patient motivation as a path to changing their’ behavior and improving health outcomes.

2. More investment in advanced technologies

Driving every change in the healthcare system should be a commitment to improving patient outcomes, which will become more challenging as the population ages. According to KPMG, genetics tools, risk stratification calculators, rare disease detection algorithms, machine learning, natural language processing and predictive analytics can all have a positive impact.

These technologies can also reorient healthcare systems toward prevention, early diagnosis and cure rather than just treatment. For example, by 2025, 90 percent of U.S. hospitals will use AI for rapid diagnosis of chronic conditions. Smaller systems with fewer financial resources should consider partnerships with biotech companies and scaled payers, KPMG advises.

3. Layered care delivery models

Numerous reports have found that many hospitals are financially weak or on the verge of closing. But at the same time, experts expect a boom in the number of alternative healthcare facilities, such as urgent care. KPMG compared this shift to how traditional retailers now learned to their products through various digital and in-person channels.

Under the umbrella of “layered” models are:

  • Retail clinics, which researchers believe will evolve from treating mostly acute illnesses to more chronic conditions
  • Telemedicine, which helps consumers access care regardless of geography, mobility, or economic status, and providers to assist each other with complicated cases
  • Critical care at home, which improves patient outcomes and costs up to 50 percent less than in-patient services, depending on the procedure

RELATED: Is Telehealth Right for Your Practice? 5 Questions to Ask

Driving the success of this approach will be reciprocal relationships between healthcare systems and organizations already thriving in one of the above three spaces, KPMG notes.

4. Embracing consumer desire for convenience through technology

More than half of millennials, 58 percent, and 64 percent of Gen-Xers say they’d switch care providers to be able to book appointments online, indicating there’s a real demand for technology that makes care simpler. Many start-ups are already playing in this space. In order for them to be successful, KPMG stresses they must “integrate seamlessly with the ongoing physical delivery of healthcare” so patients associate them with the health system itself.

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