Pathology Groups and Clinical Laboratories Have Unique Opportunity to Take Leadership Role in Healthcare Consumerism

Medical laboratories are in key position to advise and guide other healthcare organizations to implementing strategies and technologies that support consumerism in healthcare

Dark Daily has regularly alerted our readers to the fact that employers and healthcare policymakers are seeking ways for consumers to take more active roles in their healthcare. That includes requiring more out-of-pocket payments from patients to control prices, and quality metrics, so patients can select hospitals, doctors, and clinical laboratories based on price and performance.

Capitalizing on such consumerism in healthcare is not only an area where pathology groups and medical laboratories can play a key role, but also a trend where they hold a commanding lead over many healthcare organizations.

Because appointment setting and the ability to review test results has long been in demand by consumers of clinical laboratory services, many blood labs have already implemented easy-to-understand but highly functional patient portals,. Two examples that have attracted national attention are Kaiser Permanente’s “My Health Manager” and Quest Diagnostics’ (NYSE:DGX)” patient portal. (more…)

Consumerism among Healthcare Patients with High-Deductibles Has Not Yet Altered How Most Hospitals and Healthcare Systems Operate

New study shows most hospitals now recognize that patients are becoming more cost-conscious and customer-service driven due to the high cost of healthcare, but few have strategies in place to attract a more-engaged consumer

High-deductible health plans (HDHPs) are forcing consumers to be more cost-conscious when making healthcare decisions. This trend toward consumerism could be beneficial for clinical laboratories and pathology groups, whose patients would have multiple choices in where to purchase medical laboratory testing services and are looking for labs with good quality and competitive prices.

Greater numbers of patients must pay more out-of-pocket for their healthcare, but are also gaining access to increasing amounts of information about doctors and hospitals. As this happens, patients are “demanding straightforward information on prices, proof of value, and excellent customer service,” according to an article in Trustee, a publication of the American Hospital Association (AHA).

However, hospitals have been slow to react to this new interest by patients in transparency in prices and quality by developing a consumer strategy. That’s according to the “2016 State of Consumerism in Healthcare” report prepared by consulting firms Kaufman Hall and Cadent Consulting Group. (more…)