Consumerism envisages people’s ability to consume material goods and services. Such behavior is enforced by numerous advertisements that urge the population to purchase and consume more and more goods and services. Apparently, consumer satisfaction is derived from such spending on consumer goods and services. The notion of consumerism in healthcare adopts a different approach. Whereas the usual advertisements are hyperbolic with altered information, consumerism in healthcare aims at enabling the consumer to choose services from the best facility and healthcare providers.
The Healthy People 2020 is one such website that provides current information on the happenings of healthcare activities in the United States. This site promotes health benchmarks that govern health behavior and practices, and it indicates the providers of unprecedented health care services (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2014). The Healthy People 2020 promotes consumerism in a unique way because it takes the health of the consumer into consideration. Hence, it informs consumers about possible factors, social, environmental, or physical, that can influence health. As a result, consumer behavior beyond accessing the best possible healthcare services is affected. Healthy People 2020 executes the role of regulating consumerism through its vision, mission, and overarching goals. By indicating the determinants of health, Healthy People 2020 aims at giving insight into evidence-based, consumer practices that are deemed healthy in promoting good health. This website is comprehensive in the sense that it provides accurate and up-to-date information on effective treatment and management strategies for an array of health conditions.
The Institute of Medicine reports encourage reporting on health care outcomes with regard to quality and cost so that consumers can make informed decisions about choosing the best healthcare provider. The IOM achieves this by urging healthcare providers to ensure information is made accessible to more than 70 million Americans who rely on the internet to access health-related information (Mulholland & Doherty, 2011). In the wake of high-deductible health plans, consumers, more than ever, are cautious about the kind of health care service they seek. The health care should be applicable to their personal, social and economic circumstances. The IOM encourages the integration of technology into consumerism to enhance effective and efficient delivery of information to enhance consumers’ access to safe and quality healthcare services. Such a move is attributed to the surge in medical consumerism through the internet. For example, consumers from New York and Pennsylvania can access cardiac-surgery outcomes associated with particular surgeons and hospitals. Subsequently, consumers are able to select the best provider (Huckman & Kelley, 2013). The Healthy People 2020 is one such online resource that guides consumers to make healthy choices in as far as preventing and addressing high morbidity and mortality rates.
After a review of the literature, I realize the need for enhancing the role of the consumer in my practice by adopting a participatory approach. There is a need to understand how the consumers perceive services offered from my facility so that the necessary improvements can be made. I will educate consumers and develop IEC materials that will inform them of the obligation of each healthcare worker towards the goal of providing quality care. Hence, through a meeting, each consumer will be provided with a feedback form, where he or she can comment on the services provided. In reference to expected services and health outcomes, consumers will give comments in the event that their expectations were not met and highlight areas for improvement.
Consumerism is important for the growth of every country’s economy. However, the concept of consumerism in healthcare is rather different because it aims at ensuring the consumer receives the best care possible with the aim of improving health outcomes.
Huckman, R., & Kelley, M. (2013). Public reporting, consumerism, and patient empowerment. The New England Journal of Medicine, 360(20), 1875-1877. Web.
Mulholland, M., & Doherty, G. (2011). Complications in Surgery (2nd ed.). New York: Wolters Kluwer.
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2014). Healthy People 2020. Web.