Last year, consumer healthcare solutions leader Alegeus Technologies announced its inaugural Healthcare Consumerism Index, which sought to measure consumer behavior and engagement during the healthcare purchasing process.
The study surveyed 5,000 people about their purchasing decisions regarding an array of products, including healthcare goods and services, cars and televisions. All of the questions were consistent for each type of purchasing decision in order to properly compare results.
The findings revealed that “consumers are still much more engaged and thoughtful about buying a TV than they are about making decisions concerning their own healthcare.”
The results of the study probably don’t come as a surprise. After all, televisions are a central part of many American household and buying a TV is normally a simple process. You visit a retail store, ask the salespeople a few questions, and review the price, size, and picture quality of each TV.
Healthcare decisions, on the other hand, are rarely as simple or enjoyable. The healthcare process simply isn’t designed to engage consumers in the same way as traditional retailers. Here are a few hurdles customers face during the healthcare-purchasing process:
- Unexpected circumstances. People don’t like to think about worst-case scenarios and making decisions regarding healthcare products is often unwelcome and uncomfortable.
- Ongoing costs. Healthcare costs aren’t always one and done. Many cases may require monthly dues and multiple provider visits, each with deductible fees, co-pays, or out-of-pocket costs.
- Lack of expertise. Many consumers enjoy learning about the latest electronics but the same excitement is missing from the healthcare industry, which is often complicated and confusing.
By making the healthcare purchasing process easier and more transparent, healthcare companies can help consumers better navigate a commonly confusing system.
Making the process easier
Healthcare benefits purchasing decisions are falling more and more into the hands of the consumer. This includes employees, who seek both choices and guidance from their employers’ healthcare programs. And yet, their behavior suggests a reluctance to engage in this type of decision-making. So how can healthcare insurance companies make the process more engaging for their employees?
- Expert guidance. Healthcare solutions and purchasing decisions can be intimidating. Employees need to know where to go for customer service or assistance in the human resources or clinical setting, especially when it comes to pricing and coverage details.
- Healthcare is a confusing industry for many consumers. Any improvements to make the process easier, clearer, and less technical will improve employee engagement.
- Employee focus. Meet people where they are and encourage collaboration between HR, clinical professionals, and customer service agents to help people navigate the system.
A focus on education, customer service, and transparency can encourage employees to lean into the process. Healthcare purchasing may never be as engaging as shopping in a big-box store but small improvements can make the process more accessible and consumer friendly.
Apta Health can help
When choosing an affordable healthcare program, it helps to have an expert by your side. Apta Health provides industry expertise and a comprehensive package offering care coordination, national preferred provider access, cost containment, and wellness programs designed to cut costs and keep employees engaged. Learn more about Apta Health and how employers can engage their healthcare consumers through The Consumer's Journey.