By Beth Bailey, manager of Corporate and Employee Communications Program for Xerox
For a guy who worked at AOL in the early days, embracing (and loving) the start-up mentality and communication transparency, the switch to healthcare over a decade ago was eye-opening.
“When I first started in the field, the inefficiencies and lack of transparency boggled my mind,” said Rohan Kulkarni (photo, right). “I vowed to do what I could to bring a more consumer-focused slant to how people accessed information and understood their care.”
Now, 10 years later, healthcare is catching up with Rohan. His current position allows him to balance an existing portfolio while looking to where the industry is headed to create a sustainable—and growing—business.
“Before the Affordable Care Act (ACA), healthcare was defined by trying to reduce costs without a focus on the consumer. But post-ACA, people are thinking about how to engage patients better,” said Rohan. “In turn, when consumers are saying they need more engagement, or are asking more questions, they are holding those of us in healthcare more accountable.”
The shift is backed up by data in a newly-released Xerox survey that found people are more empowered and savvy in healthcare decision-making. Meanwhile, payers and providers are working hard to move toward a value-based care model, where they will get paid for quality or health outcomes instead of the number of times they see a patient, or number of tests that are ordered.
The “New Normal” Will Be Fluid and Fast
Although government is the primary impetus behind the new, value-based mandate, other factors are at play. Rohan describes one of the most intriguing as the “multi-generational transition,” which reflects the way different age cohorts think about healthcare.
Millennials (Gen Y, ages 18 – 34), for example, are the most cost conscious when it comes to healthcare—and the most likely to delay care due to cost. They also want their information available electronically at all times. In contrast, the Greatest Generation (age 69+) are the least interested in electronic medical records, and they don’t believe having access would allow them to be more conscious about lifestyle decisions affecting their health.
“Consumerism is taking root but nobody knows what, exactly, the new normal will be,” noted Rohan. “Trying to determine this is changing how our clients organize themselves and how they conduct business. Today, you’re either driving or adapting to new constructs…and at a rapid pace. Currently, we focus on several main areas for our clients: optimizing the cost of healthcare, improving efficiencies by streamlining processes and uncovering the value that comes from focusing on outcomes versus just delivering services.”
There is a great deal of thought around how to make sense of these transformations and the impacts they will have on consumer engagement. Rohan outlines three trends in the healthcare space that our team keeps in mind when considering the future:
- Population Health Management: This is the art and science of managing the health of patient groups in a holistic manner. This way of thinking takes a balanced approach to preventative measures that keep people healthy while applying technology, analytics and clinical solutions across the entire health ecosystem.
- Telehealth: Aimed at providing access to health while managing the cost of care. Telehealth uses technology to deliver healthcare, health information or health education at a distance. This is helpful in rural areas especially.
- Consumerization: Every healthcare company and organization will need to become more consumer-centric, because the people being insured will become more involved taking an active role in their healthcare decisions and expenditures. They will shop for healthcare like they shop online today, those buying behaviors will convey to how they consume healthcare.
These trends can benefit people by improving engagement, pushing down prices, improving consumer health and enhancing utilization across the marketplace. Plus, an engaged consumer has the best chance of improving the quality of their lives by healthier living: eating better, sleeping better and prioritizing better.
No matter what form the future of healthcare takes, one thing is certain: It will be collaborative.