Every day we are closer to consumer driven health care choices. We know consumers drive the decisions for knee and hip replacements, bariatric surgery, plastic surgery. We know they pick their primary care doctors and they are starting to advocate for the drugs and procedures they want. But things are changing fast, buckle your seat belt. The big driver is technology. Access to information via the Internet and more recently, the ability to dialogue with both the medical community and patients with similar disease states changes so much.
It’s true — we still let our doctors lead us through the process, make recommendations as to the specialists, hospitals and treatments we experience. We might challenge the recommendation, but research tells us doctors are still driving the decision process today. But for how much longer? Science is advancing and so is our ability to access that information and understand it.
What can you do? Stay close to the consumer. Develop social media initiatives that allow you to listen to the conversations taking place online and participate where it makes sense. Become a trusted source of information — that’s how we can build relationships with people in the future. And that’s one thing I’m betting will NOT change. We trust the people with whom we have a relationship. Now you can form relationships more quickly than ever before — with social media. Get out there, now.