Why Consumer - Directed Medicine, Health 2.0 Will Flourish

Forget catering to the 'feelings' of consumers.

MTV sold more songs via digital download for its games Guitar Hero and Rock Band in 2 months than Sprint sold in 4 (2.5M for Rock Band in 2 mos, 5M for Guitar Hero III versus 1M for Sprint).

Shoot for good feelings and you'll miss the boat.

Consumers want to be integrally involved. This is proof from yet another industry.

We want to be playing with the band, making the music.

We want to be in control of the score.

This is why consumer-based medicine will succeed.

It's only a matter of time before the Guitar Hero generation is the Getting Healthcare generation.

And when they begin seeking medical care and services as primary decision-makers - look out hospital markets.

The future of the American healthcare landscape is hidden behind a clouded horizon. No one knows exactly what future delivery and payment structures will look like.

Declining primary care and the rise of superego conditions related to a more sedentary, me-oriented consumer all play a factor.

The marketplace is cluttered with provider organizations offering partial solutions based on previous industry success - we still aren't HEARING customers.

As individually focused consumers grow up and find a lack of nurturing support in the medical community, we'll reach out to alternative models like generalists on retainer and telemedicine.

Get ready for questions like these:
  • What's a 'family doctor?'
  • Why won't my PCP spend more than 3.456 minutes talking to me about this?
  • I haven't seen anyone since my pediatrician - can I give you my PHR on this thumb drive?
  • How do I access your client approval ratings online?
  • I haven't seen anyone since the NP at the campus health center - what do you mean my insurance won't cover this and so you won't do the xray?

You think the market is tough now?

Get ready for mindsets like these:
  • No wireless net for my laptop?
  • No concierge service?
  • No low-carb/vegetarian menu options?
  • No quality/safety data online for my appendectomy?
  • No email access to my physician?
  • Ok, none of my business is coming your way.
Work on mentoring the 'me' generations - the next wave of healthcare delivery will depend on carefully mentoring 'me' thinkers to manage personal responsibility and maintain individual health. Wellness maintenance programs are just one part of the solution.

Look, we don't have all the answers and we don't want to take over the system - we just want to be partners in our own care.

You provide the composers (docs in this musical malady), we just want to be part of the band (and sometimes the lead singer).

Give us a solo - we've been taught for most of our lives to tell people what we want. You've been taught for most of your lives to tell people what we need to be well. Your answers about how to work with us in the new system are waiting.


chloe said...

That's a great fantasy you've got there. Is the "me" generation prepared to pay for all of this great care and service they will be wanting? Do they think that they will get 45 minute doctor visits and instant email access so that they can ask all their 3am stream of consciousness questions for the pathetic reimbursement rates of HMOs and Medicare? Why do they think that they get 3 minute visits in the first place? Even doctors have to pay their bills, and don't forget many of these docs will be "me" generation themselves. You think they are going to sacrifice family and personal time like doctors have traditionally been expected to do? Good luck with that. . .

James Case said...

How about a retro revolution? Health care at home...sounds good to me.

Jen McCabe Gorman said...

Chloe -

Good comment.

I can't speak for an entire generation, but can tell you'd I'd pay a significant amount, out of pocket, to have access to services that allow me to better partner with my GP/PCP and be more proactive in maintaining my health and wellness (this is why I'd love to see someone like Jay Parkinson start up a telemedicine firm in Holland).

The point is that we have to teach the me generation to become proactive partners in care, rather than reactive patients who just want a prescription/meds (see Happy Hospitalist posts over the past two weeks for a great discussion on the subject).

Our system is destined for failure without patients taking responsibility for self...the hard part is of course, as you mention, how to turn self-interest into incentives that pay physicians enough to offer them.

Thanks for the comment.