The advent of consumerism—especially increasing demands for data, convenience, and transparency—has emboldened and empowered individuals to expect a consumer-centric experience in every aspect of their lives. The Amazon Prime consumer model has instilled an expectation that every transaction should be friction free, with no exception made for healthcare. Indeed, amid the myriad changes in healthcare in recent years, consumerism is making a pronounced impact on every aspect of healthcare delivery.
EvergreenHealth, an integrated two-hospital healthcare system based in Kirkland, Washington, is addressing the demands of its patient-consumers. We serve nearly 1 million residents at a 318-bed medical center and four medical specialty buildings in Kirkland and a 72-bed hospital in Monroe, Washington. In addition, our 350-member physician multispecialty group encompasses 13 primary care clinics, 5 urgent care clinics, 3 emergency departments, and 26 specialty care practices. EvergreenHealth has been named one of America’s 100 Best Hospitals by Healthgrades for three consecutive years (2017–2019), and we earned Healthgrades’ Outstanding Patient Experience Award in 2018. In providing an exceptional patient experience, we are seeing that the patient’s new role as consumer is an accelerating trend that will continue to drive change and force all health systems to adopt new ways of operating.
In fact, I believe that those health systems that embrace the consumerist era of healthcare by investing and innovating in ways that meet patient-consumer needs will remain viable even as sentiments shift, technology evolves, and new threats emerge. In contrast, those that do not heed the consumer’s clarion call are in for difficult times.