On the ten-year anniversary of the original Joe Public Doesn’t Care About Your Hospital book, we look ahead to the next decade to predict the state of consumer engagement in the world of healthcare.
On the ten-year anniversary of the release of the original Joe Public Doesn’t Care About Your Hospital book, author Chris Bevolo and Revive have set their sights a decade in the future with Joe Public 2030: Five Potent Predictions Reshaping How Consumers Engage Healthcare. Releasing in January 2022, the book explores five key ways consumer health engagement may change over the coming decade, covering everything from AI and personal monitoring to consumerism, new competition, the politicization of healthcare, and growing health disparities. The book makes five bold predictions about that future, which range from exciting and promising to ominous and discouraging.
Based on insights developed by a team of researchers, strategists, and futurists at Revive, the five core predictions are supported by more than 250 resource citations and input from 22 industry experts who were interviewed for the book, including health system CEOs, venture capitalists, entrepreneurs, and physicians. The purpose of the book is to spark conversation about how the future of health and healthcare in the U.S. might emerge, and how individuals and organizations might want to prepare for – or even change – that future.
Five potent predictions reshaping how consumers engage healthcare
The Copernican Consumer
Consumers will become the center of their own health universe more than ever before, enabled by sensors, AI, and other technology, as well as services geared toward empowering them, leading to profound implications for both consumers and healthcare organizations. Potential results could include a dramatic reduction in the need for primary care clinicians, an entirely new sector devoted to personal health management, true precision medicine combined with health management, and more.
While consumers will become increasingly responsible for their own health and use of healthcare services, they will actually become less and less empowered in the choices they have for care, especially in higher-acuity, higher-cost situations. While many in the industry will continue to sing the praises of choice, the reality is most consumers will have far fewer choices moving forward, often in ways they might never ever consider or see.
The Funnel Wars
Today we tend to consider hospitals and health systems as birds of the same feather in terms of business model, with variances based on size, scope of services, for-profit/non-profit, and other factors. Moving forward, we could see the splitting of the health system model, with some systems moving even further to the larger, more comprehensive “health” organizations, others retracting into solely acute-care destinations – the “giant ICU on a hill” – and others somewhere in the middle. These models may emerge based on core geographic/market differences such as presence of competitors, plan consolidation/power, regulation, and dozens of other market forces. Yet the primary area where this transformation would play out is with health, wellness and the lower-acuity care points – what we’re calling The Funnel Wars.
Rise of Health Sects
Challenges to and skepticism of the mainstream medical field and science itself have exploded in the past two years because of the pandemic and political tribalism in the U.S. Anti-vaxxers, non-maskers and Covid deniers are just the start of an expansion of this distrust of experts, which taken to its potential end could result in multiple “health sects” – primary “schools” of medical thought that coalesce around political/world-views. Imagine “Mainstreamers,” who follow the establishment healthcare point of view, “Progressives” who follow minimal medical intervention combined with complementary and alternative medical solutions, and “Contrarians” who deny mainstream medical thought and create their own set of “alternative facts” on everything from vaccines to childbirth to end of life care, and everything in between. These sects will not only follow the medical thinking that best fits their world-view, they may in fact create their own reality through alternative research, diagnosis and treatment approaches, and models for the delivery of care itself.
The Covid-19 pandemic shone an ugly light on the disparities that have plagued the U.S. healthcare system for decades. Unfortunately, that health gap is more likely than not to expand, as the “haves” gain access to increasingly more expensive medical treatments, health services, and personalized care, while the “have nots” will face growing shortages of basic health resources, from clean water and air to physicians and clinicians, rural healthcare, and more. This shift will be compounded by the mental health crisis, which disproportionately affects systemically disadvantaged populations and groups outside traditional healthcare access channels (teens, for example). All while those entities that might address these disparities increasingly struggle financially – health systems, health plans, state and federal governments – and others lack the incentives to focus on the growing issue.
Who is this book for?
Unlike past books in the Joe Public series, this content is not aimed at only those responsible for branding, marketing, communications, and the consumer experience at provider organizations (though the content found here will absolutely affect those disciplines moving into the next decade). Anyone in a leadership position at a provider organization, or any other of the organizations listed above, from CEO to CFO and COO to CNO to CIO and on down, should find the content here thought-provoking.
About the Author
Chris has provided leadership and guidance in the areas of strategy, brand, marketing, digital, and change management to hospitals and health systems across the country for more than 20 years. Chris is an award-winning author of six books, including Joe Public Doesn’t Care About Your Hospital, which became a field guide for driving transformation in hospital marketing departments across the country. He is a frequent keynote speaker and featured presenter on healthcare marketing and branding topics. Before joining ReviveHealth, Chris was the owner and lead strategist of Interval, a Minneapolis-based healthcare marketing firm he founded in 1995.