by Partha Unnava | CEO, Better Walk Inc. | Forbes 30U30 2015
It’s no secret that healthcare costs are rising for individuals. Patients slowly have to carry a larger burden of their healthcare costs for a variety of reasons that could fill textbooks of opinions and knowledge.
Although the ACA reduced growth in healthcare premiums, they are still growing much faster than household incomes.
However, what’s important to me is that regardless of the actual pricing of healthcare premiums, the perception of them to patients is higher because these premiums are growing faster than household incomes.
Patient perception of healthcare costs is that they are skyrocketing, and simply, this means patients care more.
Until now, if you asked a patient which medical device they were using, they would rarely know a specific brand but would know the product category. There was never an incentive to know anything about healthcare or devices, because the costs simply weren’t high enough.
Additionally, the space is a reactionary field, which makes it hard to find a person who would spend their time researching medical companies just in case they had a certain disease or condition.
Instead, patients typically went to a hospital or physician and trusted their advice, so until this point, most brands targeted physicians with their marketing efforts.
Since patients have started paying more attention to healthcare brands and their own personal care, we’ve entered a new era of healthcare: one where brands have started focusing on patients. It’s where pharma has been for years.
Of course, the majority of marketing muscle is still heavily focused on hospitals and physicians, but with growing marketing budgets in the space, you can anticipate a targeting of patients in the coming years.
The trend has already begun. With CVS’s re-positioning to CVS Health, they too prove to have noticed the consumer push into managing their own healthcare.
Additionally, with the launch of healthcare.gov, the federal government took a shot at providing transparency in healthcare pricing. This transparency gives more patients the ability to gain awareness as to what their healthcare money is going towards, and with more knowledge, comes more ability for patients to take control of their decision-making.
We are still in the infancy of transparency and consumerism in healthcare, but the signs have started to show that patients, when given the opportunity, actually care about their healthcare. If they didn’t, startups like ONE medical wouldn’t exist, selling the value proposition of premium healthcare and patient experience.
We are seeing the consumerism take hold when it comes to selecting a physician’s office, or a care provider, but longer term, as costs continue to shift to patients, we will see this trend continue into specific devices and medical brands.