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What is Healthcare Consumerism?

Consumerism has been making its way into the healthcare industry. For the past decade, patients have been increasingly acting like consumers who have a choice in their healthcare options. Patients are more interested than ever to make the best healthcare decisions based on quality and cost.

The transition from patient to consumer has been accelerated in recent years thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Just a few years ago, patients who were seeking healthcare information about a doctor or hospital were only able to find the most basic information, making their decision much simpler. Today, patients are able to find much more detailed information about important factors such as a doctor’s experience, readmission rates, and overall hospital ratings.

While patients are able to shop around for healthcare options today more than ever, consumers and healthcare leaders are both realizing that making healthcare decisions are not the same as shopping for the best deal on a new TV.

Consumers often are making these decisions during a stressful time, which can play into their decision making process. lso, choosing one physician or hospital usually is not enough; the patient has to make choices based in part on which physicians, specialists, and hospitals work together and how they will work with the patient's insurance coverage. And unlike most consumer choices, the human connection between the patient and the provider can hold great sway over a patient's decision.