February 2, 2017
What are aggregators, and how are they reshaping healthcare?
The Aggregation Revolution
E-commerce has more than doubled since 2010. This growth demanded the development of aggregators to help consumers distill their options.
An aggregator is a website – like Amazon, OpenTable, or Kayak – that enables consumers to shop many sources at once. Their true value is in empowering easy consumer choice based on any combination of price, quality, brand name, and customer ratings. Aggregators both concentrate and deconstruct complex information to provide consumer value based on personalized choice drivers. This value promotes consumer loyalty to individual aggregators, ensuring repeat business.
5 Forces Reshaping Healthcare
The PricewaterhouseCoopers Health Research Institute identified five factors remaking the U.S. healthcare industry. They are:
- Consumerism: The always-on nature of the e-commerce environment (a $340 billion market in 2015) has shifted consumer expectations of healthcare. Consumers now believe healthcare should provide the same convenient, mobile experience as Amazon and Uber. They also expect to partner with their doctors in healthcare decision-making – a 2015 Deloitte Center for Health Solutions survey found nearly half of consumers feel this way.
- Volume to Value: Healthcare cost-shifting is having a huge impact on consumers. Since 2011, healthcare deductibles have increased 10 times as fast as inflation, and nearly 6 times faster than income. Premiums have also skyrocketed nearly 250% in the last 17 years. With the bite healthcare costs take out of consumers’ incomes, they naturally expect more from their providers and choose them more carefully.
- Technology: According to the Pew Research Center, nearly 7 in 10 adults own a smartphone. These devices have revolutionized the on-demand economy, and seniors are the fastest-growing user group. Online healthcare information seekers also come in many different flavors, with high-income earners, Millennials, Generation X, and baby boomers having the largest appetite for healthcare information, according to the Deloitte survey. No matter the time or location, consumers expect your healthcare organization – and the health information it provides – to be available to them online.
- Care Decentralization: A patient may have seen one of your primary care physicians for years, and has recently begun bringing her children to one of your pediatricians. But that doesn’t mean your organization is top of mind when she has unexplained abdominal pain that is too mild for the ER but too severe and persistent to ignore. Unless you provide the right information to her while she’s researching her condition online, she may go elsewhere.
- Focus on Wellness: Not surprisingly, the increased consumer healthcare cost burden has coincided with a growing interest in wellness. It’s more affordable to stay healthy than it is to undergo hospitalization or manage a chronic disease. Consumers are looking for information on their health risks, and how to modify them.
Aggregators Create Convergence
Smart consumers no longer visit multiple hotel websites to select the right hotel. They visit Kayak or another high-volume aggregator to make an informed decision and to book their room quickly. Savvy healthcare consumers also don’t visit multiple hospital, ratings, and government websites to research doctors and then make an appointment. They want a convenient, technology-driven consumer experience that focuses on patient value and delivers health information independent of a specific hospital or doctor.
Instead, these consumers visit aggregators like healthgrades.com, where they can research conditions and choose a provider based on criteria including proximity, quality ratings, experience, consumer ratings, insurance accepted, and language spoken. Then they can instantly make an appointment before leaving the website. It’s the Amazon experience in healthcare.
Aggregators unite the multiple forces reshaping American healthcare. Are you prepared for their impact?
Read More: Download “Revolution in Healthcare Consumerism”, part of the Healthgrades Innovative Perspectives series.