Walmart and Amazon are creating more choice in healthcare without increasing access: 3 notes

As Walmart, Amazon, Walgreens and more retailers move into healthcare, patients have more options than ever before — but only if they have the resources necessary to access and navigate those options.

During a panel session titled "Addressing High Deductible Patient Plans, Consumerism and the Evolving Role of Patients Becoming Payers" at the Becker's Hospital Review Health IT + Revenue Cycle conference in Chicago in October, two healthcare leaders discussed how those three rising trends are affecting healthcare delivery and accessibility, and how they will continue to do so in the years to come.

The two panelists were Jeff Reger, CTO of the Delaware Health Information Network, and David Mackey, MD, a professor in the department of anesthesiology and perioperative medicine at Houston-based University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Here are three takeaways from their discussion:

  • Though Walmart, Amazon and their peers are driving down the costs of primary care by offering more choice, low-income and less educated patients and those facing a language or culture barrier may have difficulty navigating this increasingly complex healthcare system.
  • Additionally, retailers and providers must ensure this commoditization of healthcare does not result in the commoditization of patients; healthcare delivery requires more human interaction than the uniform, assembly line-style processes that comprise the majority of Amazon's operations, for example.
  • Technology will be a great boon to patients as they navigate the new model of healthcare: patient navigation software, price comparison tools and, perhaps most importantly, telehealth services will improve care delivery across the board.

Don't miss the Becker's 3rd Annual Health IT + Clinical Leadership + Pharmacy event in Chicago, May 19-21, 2020. Click here to learn more and register.

More articles on consumerism:
Study: Consumers turning to social media, internet searches for medical diagnoses
Convenience, patient experience lead consumer criteria for selecting a provider: report
Facebook connects users to clinics for flu shots and other preventive services

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