What matters most to consumers with their health care?

Australia’s health care landscape is experiencing a seismic shift. Record-level spending and investment is taking place across all levels of government, public and private enterprise to grapple with unprecedented 21st century health care challenges which go beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. In Australia, key issues for the sector include:

  • a rapidly increasing ageing population
  • a health care workforce shortage (which is being experienced globally in all health and care industries)
  • digitisation of the health care system
  • declining private health cover and increasing reliance on public health
  • primary and preventative health supply and demand
  • access and equity to high quality care and services for regional, rural and remote communities and First Nations communities, and
  • population health issues.

There are three inter-related factors which are vitally important for health service providers to keep top of mind as they navigate this complex environment and are crucial to delivering person-centric care.

1. Consumers value their independence

People have a strong sense of independence and believe that they are ultimately in control and take responsibility for their own health care and management. People are doing what they can now to avoid getting sick in the future. They highly value remaining healthy and are motivated to AVOID becoming unhealthy.

In the past it was quite common for health care consumers to solely rely on doctors and hospitals and have very little involvement in the decision-making around their health care. Now, health care consumers still expect, depend, and rely upon expert guidance from their health care practitioner, but they want to be involved. Health service providers are shifting towards a person-centred care model of delivery which has proven to have better and positive outcomes.

2. Value is multidimensional

What health care consumers value is multidimensional. They view relational factors to care as the number one and the most important aspect to their care. These relational aspects include matters such as privacy, empathy, courtesy, respect, and having an opportunity to shape their care and be actively involved in the process.

Process and place factors follow and include excellence in modern treatments, technologies, methods and approaches as well as the practicalities, such as safety, cleanliness and convenience.

Australians have grown to expect excellence from our world-class health system and that their health care experience will be respectful, inclusive and equitable.

They value the convenience of a virtual consultation for minor matters, such as prescription renewal, to discuss test results, save time and for minor medical conditions. They know that technology enhanced care can offer more personalised care and better health experiences, from genetic testing to taking medications, treatment through hospital-in-the-home programs and non-urgent care delivered by health professionals.

People understand, accept and support that technology will play a significant role in healthcare and revolutionize its delivery into the future. Emerging healthcare technologies, AI and virtual presence will become more commonplace and more widely accepted.

3. Trust is not ‘old-fashioned’

Research shows that a person’s trust in their health care professional is the foundation for effective treatments and fundamental to person-centred care.

Trusted relationships between health care consumers with medical, allied health and primary care practitioners are highly effective in maintaining or working towards optimal health and wellbeing. As the virtual care environment continues to emerge and evolve healthcare practitioners can play an important role in supporting consumers navigate these changes.

Understanding trust and how it impacts health care systems can assist healthcare providers to improve efficiency and protect the health of the population. As virtual care and use of the technology enables health care practitioners and the health system to reimagine the way healthcare is accessed and delivered; trust will be a critical component to moving consumers along the change spectrum.

Consumers who trust their health care system, providers, treatments and scientific evidence will be better positioned and more ready to accept and adopt new technologies, treatments and approaches to benefit their overall health and wellbeing. In turn, this results in effectiveness and efficiency across the entire health system.

Connect with us today

At Phillips Group, our dedicated Health and Care Practice stays ahead of emerging industry trends, which are largely driven by digital transformation, public policy and evolving consumer needs and attitudes.

Read more Phillips Group Health and Care insights about the Digitisation of Australian healthcare and The future of AI in healthcare.

Connect with Group Executive Director, Health and Care, Rebecca Williams today.