We are all Amazon Prime primed as consumers now. So it should not surprise healthcare providers, plans and suppliers that consumers expect just-in-time convenience for their healthcare, Accenture has found.

Mind the gap: 8 in 10 U.S. patients would welcome some aspect of virtual healthcare, but only 1 in 5 providers is meeting that need.

The consumer demand for virtual care is palpable for:

  • Tracking biometrics, among 77% of consumers (say, for measuring blood pressure or blood glucose for people managing diabetes)
  • Following up appointments, for 76% of people after seeing a doctor or being discharged from hospital
  • Receiving reminders for health and wellness, for 74% of people
  • Discussing healthcare issues with a clinician, among 73%, and
  • Managing conditions to support daily health management for people dealing with chronic medical issues, for 72% of consumers

On the supply side, there’s a lag in providing for virtual care across these various demands, which are driven by consumers’ wish for more convenience, to use technology to manage their health, and curiosity to do so.

Accenture polled 1,501 U.S. adults conducted in September and October 2017.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  The connected health supply-gap persists on the provider and plan side, which prevents consumers from becoming truly consumer-directed in their own care. Surescripts pointed out this chasm in their recent survey, covered here in Health Populi.

I’ve been discussing the phenomenon of homo informaticus in healthcare since July 2014 as more consumers have adopted multi-channel, multi-platform lives as media omnivores. The average household owns several technology platforms: smartphones, computers (whether laptop or PC), tablets, and increasingly, connected televisions in a growing Internet of Things landscape. People purchasing new home appliances, from refrigerators to washing machines, will find them connected to the Internet in that expanding IoT, smarthome environment.

Combine that trend with peoples’ new-found health/care consumer incentives under high-deductible health plans and need to shop for insurance, services, and prescription drugs, and you understand the growing demand for virtual care.

Note that Amazon Prime members now out-number non-Prime accounts. Consumers’ demand for immediate gratification and retail responsiveness has come to healthcare.