Generally (over the last 20 years): inpatient health care (pdf) utilization has been flat, outpatient care steadily increasing, and home health treatments rising.
What emerges is a trend toward treatment options that have become more convenient for patients (the cost usually declines, too; but not necessarily):
Inpatient Care —> Outpatient Care —> Home Health Care
That’s good and the path is getting longer. Home health care services have been provided to the most needy patients. The next logical step, which is already being taken, is to provide health care in the home to patients who are not as needy; for example, the home monitoring of cardiac patients. And home monitoring toes the line on the next logical step: personal care for diagnoses previously needing professional assistance (personal care could/should, definitionally speaking, include personal responsibility for healthy eating/living/exercising as well).
Health care services will continue to be pushed down this path:
Inpatient Care —> Outpatient Care —> Home Health Care —> Personal Care
The most important driver behind GENERATION G is a wide variety of consumers and citizens being more generous. We’re talking the collaborative / free / creation / crowdsourced / gift / sharing movement that—especially online—has unlocked in entirely new ways the perennial need of individuals to be appreciated, to be loved, to feel part of the greater good, to contribute, to help… To basically find status and gratification in something other than consuming the most or the best.
Don’t think this a passing phenomenon: younger generations practically live online, while over the last dozen or so years, virtually every prediction of how the web would infiltrate the ‘offline’ world has proven too conservative. As our favorite online guru, Kevin Kelly, rightly stated a few years ago: ‘online culture is the culture’.
So… Everything seems to have aligned to make generosity (“liberality in giving or willingness to give”) a leading theme in the business arena this year. As always, companies can learn from consumers, though it’s not a ‘want’ but a ‘need’: companies need to mirror this societal shift if they want to regain their relevancy. We’re talking truly becoming a caring brand—one that is generous to customers, generous to employees, generous to the environment, generous to social causes, and so on. We know you know this: GENERATION G is more about context and timing than out-of-the-blue insights. (italics added)
Health care is in a unique situation to become a significant part of this movement. Obviously, keeping the doors open is priority one. But generosity is something needed now, much more so than in times of abundance. Has your organization’s generosity risen, fallen, or remained the same during the economic slide? What level of generosity existed in 2007?
Wal-Mart is opening its first Marketside store (yes, that Wal-Mart). The concept is a 15,000 square foot (much, much smaller than the Super Wal-Mart) neighborhood market. It’s meant to compete with Tesco’s Fresh & Easy entrance into the United States.
The Financial Times reports the new concept “marks a dramatic break with the branding of the rest of Wal-Mart’s more than 3,400 low-cost US stores.”
What does this have to do with health care?
The trend. It’s smaller, manageable, intimate, community-like. If a Super Wal-Mart is 1000+ bed quaternary hospital, then a Marketside neighborhood market is a … to be determined.
Some may think it’s a retail clinic, but the analogy doesn’t hold here. The retail clinic depends on the foot traffic generated by the big box retailer or pharmacy. It’s not a specialty hospital either, not enough product offerings. Most likely it’s a health delivery concept that hasn’t reached the masses yet, like the medical home or micro practice.
Regardless of what it actually is, the concept of neighborhood health care delivery is much more desireable than the mass production of a primary care clinic attached to a super hospital.
Health 2.0 is growing quickly. Expect it to continue. A quick comparison from Health Populi:
How much time Americans spend researching:
- Medical procedure or surgeon: 1 hour
- Planning a vacation: 4 hours
- Picking out new appliances: 5 hours
- Deciding to buy/lease new car: 8 hours
- Thinking about a job change: 10 hours…