People want to make health with their health care providers, and they want more than care from them: most patients are looking for support with healthy eating, exercise, emotional support, sleep, stress management, social relationships, and financial health.

And in case physicians, nurses and pharmacists aren’t sufficiently business with that punch-list for health, two in three U.S. patients would also like to receive help in finding a higher purpose.

This is the health consumer’s mass call-out for holistic health, Welltok discovered in a survey conducted among over 1,600 U.S. adults in March 2019. The results are detailed in the assertively  titled analysis, Rethink the Patient Journey.

This is indeed a “rethink,” because patients through this lens aren’t as much about health care — that’s a given, with virtually every person polled saying they want support in controlling or managing an existing health condition. On top of that core business of a clinician are other patient demands, called for by the majority of health consumers.

Rethinking the patient journey also requires personalization: most people want personalized advice and believe they’d be better patients adhering to instructions if they were customized.

This personalization would breed loyalty, with the vast majority of patients across all age groups, from 21-34 to 65 and over saying they’d be more loyal to their providers if they felt more supported defined by their own sense or definition of holistic health. This is especially true among female patients, who are more likely keen to focus on broader wellbeing than men are.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  Welltok’s research reinforces the adage that health happens where we live, work, play, and other verbs based on our personal values and life-flows. That’s how patients see health beyond health care, underpinned by consumer expectations for personalized services that cater to “me.”

What’s promising about a consumer-driven and -defined holistic approach is that we know health is largely made outside of the doctor’s office. The second graphic taken from my book, HealthConsuming: From Health Consumer to Health Citizen, illustrates those social determinants of health beyond medical services.

The good news for clinicians is that their patients look to them for support on these challenges. The bad news for clinicians is that patients look to them for support on these challenges.

Most patients point to two ways providers can build better patient relationships: by taking time to listen to them and not rush through an appointment; and, by looking at their overall health and wellbeing.

This kind of conversation must be underpinned by data, the kind of which isn’t typically in a claims system. A sensitive conversation about sex, drugs, rock ‘n roll, faith, purpose….that information isn’t generated by a lab test or a digital image.

There are promising models of shared-decision making, community health workers visiting people at-home who complement and extend care teams,  patient-generated data available through wearable technology, surveys on portals, and text messaging responses.

Welltok will be discussing a data-driven approach to the growing patient call for personalization and deep engagement in an upcoming webinar on May 29, 2019 – you can sign up for that session here to gain insights into making health beyond the doctor’s office with smart use of data, analytics and patient engagement tools.