Consumerism – My View on the Basics

So, how does one define consumerism from a pharmacy perspective?  Let’s first look at the objective.  The objective of consumerism is to put information, choice, and responsibility in the hands of the patient.  To do this successfully, several things have to be addressed – knowledge, awareness, incentives.

The benefit of pharmacy is the timeliness of the data (real-time).

I believe  consumerism is made up of several different things:

  1. Plan designs which include high deductibles and have Health Savings Accounts (HSA)s.
  2. Content and tools that helps consumers make choices.  This includes information on plan design, on disease states, on drugs, on quality, on cost, and mostly on their options.  This is for pharmacy, providers, and general healthcare services.  The options here with all the consumer-driven healthcare vendors and the Web 2.0 technologies are significant.
  3. Communications to educate and remind them.  I think of this as an event driven architecture where information is pushed to consumers around events when they need or want information.  Doing this effectively and in a timely manner is the key challenge.
  4. Incentives and rewards to align the interests of the parties.  If you stay healthy and spend less resources, you should share in the savings.  It is a simple pitch to me.
  5. A focus on prevention versus simply treatment.  This includes wellness programs and disease management.

Everyone is trying different things which is what makes this such a dynamic space right now.  Here are a few of the players:

  1. WebMD
  2. RevolutionHealth
  3. ActiveHealth
  4. DestinationRx
  5. Definity Health
  6. Metavante
  7. ConnectYourCare
  8. CareGain
  9. Healthways
  10. Lumenos
  11. Amisys
  12. PrecisionRx
  13. RxEOB
  14. Subimo
  15. iBenefit
  16. HealthEnvelope

I could go on, but there are numerous companies embracing disease management, wellness, HSAs, VBID, and many of the other concepts that are part of consumerism.  I welcome you to add other vendors to the list.  Thanks.

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