Home: The access point of choice for many health care consumers

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Sarah Haflett Director, Health Research Institute, PwC US May 08, 2019

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While today’s providers may want to fill their beds, consumers increasingly want to stay in their own. Just as providers spent the last 10 years focusing on creating a system-based customer experience, the next 10 years will see a shift to home-based, personalized health.

Consumers are expecting more choice closer to home. Seventy-eight percent of consumers responding to a 2018 HRI survey said that they would be interested in having a “menu” of care options offered by multiple providers, allowing them to choose care from local providers or virtual care from specialists across the country. Among the most interested in this sort of menu are consumers who could be categorized as frail and elderly, according to the HRI survey.

This “menu” could include care options from industry newcomers. Forty-seven percent of consumers surveyed by HRI would be comfortable receiving health services from a technology company such as Google or Microsoft.

Consumers, especially those who had a hospital stay in the last two years, are more open to receiving care virtually than ever before, according to a recent HRI survey. Seventy-eight percent of consumers in that group told HRI that at least a few of their recent in-person interactions with providers could have occurred virtually.

Fifty-four percent of consumers would choose to receive hospital care at home if it cost less than the traditional option, and many others would be open to using at-home kits to diagnose strep throat or having chemotherapy administered at home.

Implications for health systems

A new era is dawning for US hospitals. Over the next 10 years, the nation’s health systems will rebuild themselves for the millions of Americans who come to them seeking care, wellness and sustainable, affordable paths to health in the burgeoning New Health Economy.

All providers will have to achieve basic competency in translating consumer insights into better experiences. Providers should start connecting data not just from the patient encounter but also encompassing the preferences and social circumstances that shape patients’ everyday health and healthcare-related purchasing decisions. They should use that information to provide a more seamless, customized experience and stay connected to customers in the “white space” of health, where it’s possible to align lifestyle with well-being.

Providers, with their very costly physical footprints, are now competing with a host of industry disruptors operating “asset-light” models. They should determine their needs for virtual versus physical workspace now and when planning to increase capacity, as care is provided through telehealth, in patients’ home, from clinicians’ homes and through community partners.

For more implications and insights, please read our full report, Provider systems of the future: What happens when the hospital is no longer the center of the health universe?
For more of HRI’s insights and content, visit our Regulatory Center and report library.

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Sarah Haflett

Sarah Haflett

Director, Health Research Institute, PwC US

Benjamin Isgur

Benjamin Isgur

Health Research Institute Leader, PwC US

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