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Consumer Expectations

Consumer expectations of healthcare provider’s improvements over service quality, as well as a heightened desire for factual information is increasing rapidly. Giving people a decision-making framework for their choice of health providers has become a major emerging market trend. The message to health providers will have to hear is that their services must become much more transparent and responsive to patients, families and payers who are paying a larger share of their healthcare costs. People are only going to want to receive their health services where they perceive they’ll be receiving the best care. In the future, safety, quality, cost and convenience will be critical determinants of value for services being purchased.

 With new sources of health insurance coverage now available for consumers through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), greater numbers of people are being enrolled for the first time in government and private health plans, and now have the ability to pay for their healthcare services. With managed healthcare systems, tiered systems of mandated health benefits has come demand for choice and quality, from consumers, employers and government payers. Until recently, the funding history for behavioral health providers nationally has been an industry heavily reliant on federal Block Grant dollars to help subsidize their day to day treatment services.

As consumers take on more of their costs for health services through co-pays and tiered insurance they will be utilizing the Internet and other resources to make the wisest health purchasing decisions they possibly can. Increasingly, people will be weighing issues such as out of pocket costs, facility and ancillary services, quality care, success outcomes and reputation as important determinants of value.

Community providers working together cooperatively in preparing, collecting meaningful quality clinical data will surely benefit from shared comparative reporting. Much of this community standards information are now being made available on-line as well as shared directly with consumers through established media communications. Behavioral health providers must quickly adapt to consumer based quality service demands or risk financial loss.