5 Jul 2022


Consumerism in Healthcare

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Academic level: College

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The emerging business trends have shifted focus on the consumer and the responsibility of service providers to consider their ethical and social obligations to the consumers. A large number of research studies have been carried out in healthcare to ensure that consumers receive healthcare services that are more affordable, more accessible and high quality. These studies have sought to explain, analyze and predict healthcare consumerism. The main aim of consumerism is to improve the relationship between service providers and consumers as well as analyze and influence their purchasing behavior. This paper is intended for use by healthcare service providers. 


The sector of healthcare in the United States has undergone a lot of changes over the years giving rise to consumerism. The attempts to define consumerism in healthcare have given rise to many definitions. Kevin Gwin, Chief Patient Experience Officer at the University of Missouri Health Care, defined consumerism as the patient experience whether positive or negative (Jackson, 2018). Gwin emphasized that healthcare systems need to realize that they are like retail businesses and therefore they will always get mixed reactions from the consumers. Modern Healthcare’s CEO, Power Panel survey, defined consumerism as a combination of increased attention to customer satisfaction and feedback, improved convenience, greater quality transparency, customer-centered design or technology offerings and price transparency (Jackson, 2018). 

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Jackson (2018) further observed that healthcare consumerism goes beyond evaluating customer experience and responses by anticipating consumers’ needs and desires. Each consumer’s experience should be customized to meet their unique needs and expectations. In a survey seeking to establish consumer satisfaction of six aspects, most patients indicated that they were dissatisfied with their ability to get in touch with the doctors outside of an appointment through phone or email (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, 2016). Healthcare providers should develop products and services that can easily be modified to meet each consumer’s needs as an individual beyond the healthcare facility setting. Healthcare facilities should also ensure that the cost of the services is acceptable to the consumers for successful consumerism. 

Fifty-six percent of consumers in the United States stated that their top priority between healthcare facilities was the one that accepted their insurance (Jackson, 2018). The healthcare facilities can only succeed in consumerism when the consumers understand their financial obligation as well. The consumers should be willing to pay for the healthcare services. Healthcare facilities should, therefore, ensure that they address several issues when developing a consumerism strategy. Organizations need to evaluate their relationship with the consumers in order to rate their loyalty to the organization (Jackson, 2018). 

By identifying the elements that drive customer loyalty, healthcare facilities can be able to retain their consumers despite the growing competition Jackson (2018) proposed that healthcare facilities need to develop a team that focuses on consumerism in all activities. The healthcare facility workers need to look at the facility as a business and therefore offer the best services. The healthcare facilities can also carry out benchmarking exercises in non-healthcare organizations that have succeeded in consumerism through branding (Jackson, 2018). The healthcare facilities can borrow good practices and customize them to their organization for successful consumerism. 

Healthcare consumerism lowers costs for both the consumers and health care providers, provides greater access to care and improves outcomes (Jackson, 2018). It is therefore very important for the facilities to embrace the consumerism approach in order to achieve a positive relationship with the consumers. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2016) observed that 25% of the adults in the United States did not have a regular healthcare professional or doctor who provided most of their health care whenever they fell sick or have a health concern. Healthcare facilities need to create loyalty in the consumers to ensure that they will always turn to them for healthcare service. The facilities also need to come up with products and services that suit the consumers’ changing expectations. Consumers are demanding for improved ease of access, increased value and cost savings (Jackson, 2018). The consumers have control over their healthcare experiences, and they will always select facilities that provide high-quality services regarding accessibility, affordable costs, and high-quality services. Health consumerism will also address the consumers’ desires to have more control regarding healthcare choices. Jackson (2018) observed that 7 in 10 consumers feel that they are responsible for managing their health. Through consumerism, healthcare facilities will provide the consumers with healthcare options to address their health conditions. 

According to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (2016) majority of the Americans are satisfied with the healthcare services but still experience problems with the health care costs, insurance coverage and healthcare services access. Healthcare facilities need to be innovative in care delivery in order to address these gaps (Phillips, 2015). In the next five years, new care delivery options will be implemented leading to new paradigms in healthcare delivery that will result in more affordable, more convenient and more responsive healthcare (Phillips, 2015). The patients will be able to receive immediate care from the service providers without having to make multiple visits to the health facility. Phillips (2015) projected that the healthcare sector would adopt technologies that enable remote monitoring of patients’ health conditions to improve care delivery. These digital devices will also encourage healthcare workers to adopt best practices like maintaining hand hygiene through tracking their hand washing. Acute care clinics that offer urgent care for patients with acute but non-life threating conditions will emerge resulting to lower health care costs, more diagnostic capabilities and no appointments necessary (Phillips,2015). These clinics will provide consumers with high-quality care at lower costs due to the low overhead costs. 

Changes within the healthcare workforce will also be experienced due to the shift to prevention and wellness, more localized and personalized care and more affordable approaches to treatment processes (Phillips, 2015). Consumers will work with trained nurse aides to support the patients in self-management and adherence to prescribed treatment. This will ensure that the patients do not make frequent visits to the hospitals leading to reduced time wastage and treatment costs. Phillips (2015) stated that healthcare facilities would adopt Big Data for analytics purposes to improve health outcomes through homing of best practices. Payment models will also evolve to ensure quality services for the consumers. Service providers will be paid based on patients’ health wellness as opposed to just providing a service (Phillips,2015) Healthcare facilities will be motivated to provide high-quality services to receive these payments. 


Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in partnership with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and NPR carried out a poll to find out the Americans’ views on the healthcare system. Data was collected through telephone interviews with the sample populations. The interviews were conducted in both English and Spanish. Random digit dialing was used to reach representative samples of adults aged 18 years and above nationally and in 7 states. Data findings are presented in the study. 

Research findings are reliable and viable as the project comprised of eight polls for data collection purposes. Margin of error was also factored in the final results so as to cater for any discrepancies that occur during the data collection process. Research sample was also large enough and as such, representative of the true population. 


The study uses both descriptive and inferential statistics. Descriptive data describes the data being measured in trying to establish the Americans’ feelings towards the American healthcare for instance 74% Americans have a regular doctor or 33% of adults nationwide have received healthcare in the emergency room Inferential statistics is used to analyses the qualitative data in the study. It makes propositions about the population based on the sample drawn from the population based on age, sex and census region. 

The study provides enough quantitative data that aids in making comparison between variables. For instance, the data collected was able to indicate the number of persons from different states who have regular doctors compared to those who reported not to be having a regular doctor. The quantitative data helps to quantify the numbers in each variable assessed. 


The healthcare sector needs to make changes and adopt a business approach in order to provide more affordable, more accessible and quality healthcare services. Healthcare accessibility can be achieved through provision of out of clinic setting services like mobile health facilities. Consumers can also be enabled to access healthcare information through mobile applications that enable out of clinic diagnosis and self-care management. Healthcare services can also be made more accessible to consumers through the use of nurse aides who can support consumers from their homes. All these will address the current accessibility challenges faced by consumers due to distance, time wasted due to long waiting periods at health facilities and high costs of medical care. Patients safety and security has also been put in question in the current healthcare system. Lack of enough healthcare practitioners has compromised the quality of care that patients receive. Appropriate technologies that support self-care management and learning eases the pressure on healthcare workers ensuring patient safety and quality services. In the current situation, healthcare facilities are compensated based on quantity of patients served. Changes in the payment system to ensure that hospitals are paid based on patient wellness will ensure that hospitals provide quality care for the consumers. 


Jackson, S. (2018), Healthcare Consumerism: What Does It Really Look Like . Retrieved from https://thedoctorweighsin.com/healthcare-consumerism-what-does-it-really-look-like/ accessed on 21 st July, 2018 

Phillips, L. (2015), What Will Healthcare Look Like in 5-15 Years? Retrieved from http://www.hfma.org/Leadership/E-Bulletins/2015/April/What_Will_Health_Care_Look_Like_in_5-15_Years_/ accessed on 21 st July, 2018 

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Poll Finds Majority of Americans View Health Care Positively, While Many Still Report Problems With Costs, Quality and Access to Services. Retrieved from https://www.rwjf.org/en/library/articles-and-news/2016/02/patient-perceptions-vary-across-seven-states.html accessed on 21 st July, 2018 

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StudyBounty. (2023, September 16). Consumerism in Healthcare.


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