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What is Consumeristic Healthcare? AKA Retail Healthcare

What is Consumeristic Healthcare? AKA Retail Healthcare

The healthcare industry is changing more rapidly than any other. Healthcare providers, payers, and pharmaceutical companies are all impacted by the demand for consumer-centric care. To survive in this new paradigm, they need to understand their customer — the patient — and how their needs, behaviors, and expectations are changing. 

One of the most critical issues in US healthcare is consumerism. The problem is that no one seems to know what it is. However, at the heart of consumerism is retail healthcare—also known as retail medicine and healthcare consumerism—and consists of the underlying premise that consumers have a choice where they receive health care. Patients and healthcare consumers want transparency, convenience, excellent customer service, and the same in-store experiences they receive outside the healthcare arena.

The rise of retail healthcare stems from a radical shift in power from the provider to the patient or healthcare consumer. The Institute for Healthcare Consumerism defines healthcare consumerism as follows: 

“Healthcare consumerism is about transforming a health benefit plan into one that puts economic purchasing power – and decision-making – in participants’ hands. It’s about supplying the information and decision support tools they need, along with financial incentives, rewards, and other benefits that encourage personal involvement in altering health and healthcare purchasing behaviors.”

Retail healthcare is a movement that advocates for patients’ involvement in their own healthcare decisions with the fundamental belief that such decisions should not be dictated by outside parties, even physicians and healthcare staff. This approach puts the decision-making power squarely in the hands of the consumer. It is rooted in the values of empowerment, information, and understanding. 

Simply put, consumers have an increasing number of choices regarding healthcare, more than they have ever had before. As a result, consumers are the ones who choose where to go, and, therefore, it is consumer choice and the responsiveness of healthcare providers to consumer desires and demands that ultimately determine which healthcare businesses succeed and which do not.

In the past, consumers did not have to make complex healthcare choices. Instead, consumers either went to their primary care physician for a referral, to a direct personal care channel, or to the emergency room if the situation warranted it. However, over the past 30 years, the marketplace has become crowded with a dizzying array of healthcare retail outlets, from urgent care facilities to retail-based clinics to free-standing emergency departments. The success of these facilities is primarily due to consumer demand for better access to care and improved customer service, like the expectations they hold up to retailers whose goods and services they access on a day-to-day basis.

The rise of retail healthcare stems from a radical shift in power from the provider to the patient or healthcare consumer. The patient is now choosing their healthcare providers. 

Intuitive Health was born out of a desire to improve ER and urgent care offerings for healthcare consumers and drive innovation across the healthcare sector. In 2008, Intuitive Health pioneered the dual care retail model to provide healthcare consumers in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with convenient access to a full-service emergency room and urgent care under one roof.

By allowing access to both treatment options, patients are billed only for the level of service provided, saving millions of dollars in unnecessary ER visits. This idea forever changed the way patients access, receive, and pay for healthcare services.

Today, Intuitive Health partners with established health systems nationwide to build and operate unique facilities that combine full-service emergency room expertise and the convenience of urgent care in a single, accessible, retail-sized/right-sized care facility. 

Intuitive Health currently operates 13 facilities. These partners include Baptist Health Care and Bayfront Health in Florida, Riverview Health in Indiana with three locations, Presbyterian Healthcare Services in New Mexico with two locations, and its flagship center, Legacy ER & Urgent Care, with six Dallas-Fort Worth locations.

For more information on Intuitive Health and how we can help your medical system create a duel ER and urgent care, please contact us here.