In the future, health status should be the main driver of where consumers go for primary care services. The sites consumers choose will be different for scheduled—or planned—care versus unscheduled, urgent care. Health systems must guide them for both cost and health reasons.
To understand how age, geography, income and care preferences impact where consumers will go for primary care in the future, use HRI's interactive tool to explore the stories of seven different consumers.
An artist, Daphne balances her personal life with her professional one. She manages a private art studio, and leads a yoga class each Sunday with a group of art professionals. Daphne doesn't have health insurance or a regular doctor but uses apps on her phone to track her sleep and regularly wears a pedometer. Daphne went to see a clinician just once last year, when she had a very bad case of the flu and couldn't treat herself at home. She tries to avoid spending on prescription medications as well, and typically picks up one prescription per year. Her frugal use of the healthcare system means that she spends only about $220 annually out-of-pocket on healthcare including $20 on prescriptions.
Mother of four soccer stars and organic coffee entrepreneur, Sally carefully watches her own health and manages the health of her family. Other than suffering from the occasional ear infection or sprained ankle, Sally's children are healthy. On average, her family makes two or three visits to clinicians each year and spends $160 on medical care out-of-pocket. The family's prescription drug utilization is low—on average, just one prescription at $10 each year. Increasingly, Sally also helps her ailing father make decisions about a growing number of health issues, including Type II diabetes.
Steve is a very unhealthy adult who has a hard time managing multiple health issues: congestive heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder and Type II diabetes. As his health continues to deteriorate, Steve has been missing more and more work. He held five different jobs last year and fell behind on his car payments. He is a frequent flyer at the local emergency room because he believes the ER is the best place to have all his health issues treated quickly and in a single location. He feels he is the only one looking out for his health, which is overwhelming to him. Steve racked up over $1,200 last year in out-of-pocket healthcare costs, which he now struggles to pay. With $540 going towards prescriptions, it is difficult for Steve to adhere to taking the medications he's been prescribed.
An octogenarian, Fiona is a retired health food store owner in the Midwest. Fiona lives alone with advanced osteoporosis, which puts her at risk for falling. She has a number of other health issues that are becoming harder and harder to manage, especially now that she has been diagnosed with early stage dementia. Last year she visited a clinician more than 16 times, including by ambulance to the ER and hospital. Fiona spent $2,000 out-of-pocket last year on healthcare, including $500 on over 30 prescription fills.
A professional photographer with work cited in several fashion magazines, Sara is in good physical health but has a history of anxiety and depression. Occasionally, Sara becomes deeply depressed and her friends and family feel helpless. When this happens Sara feels isolated but seeks out care to help her connect with the simple pleasures of daily life. She sees a psychiatrist regularly, about five times per year, but dislikes the social stigma she feels is associated with going to a mental health clinic. She also dislikes having seven refilled prescriptions as a part of her mental health treatment. Because of her frequent healthcare visits, she spent $500 last year on her care out-of-pocket, including $140 on medications.
A business executive and father dealing with a high-stress career, Ben also values a fast-paced social life with his friends in the city. When it comes to his health, he is looking for the most convenient way to manage his chronic hypertension; sometimes this means skipping doctor's appointments because of work or social conflicts. Ben is interested in finding a care team that can monitor his blood pressure outside of the doctor's office so he has more control over his health treatments. Today, he visits a clinician at least six times per year. It's costly (over $700 last year out-of-pocket), and it interferes with his busy lifestyle. Ben is also on prescription medications just for his blood pressure, which means he spends $200 on drugs to manage his health.
A healthy single adult and avid runner, Hadley manages a local fitness store. When it comes to health, Hadley is interested in preventive care (regular physicals and screenings) and is always seeking ways to track and improve his health. Recently, he has also been thinking about finding a wellness coach. Hadley spends about $280 out-of-pocket on medical care each year, including $35 on one or two prescription drugs.
The following primary care sites most closely match the information provided for Healthy Hadley's: