Cost constraints are also prompting more patients to become increasingly active in making healthcare decisions for themselves and their family members. "Patients know these decisions impact both their physical and financial health," Redgrave added.
Dr. Marzouk says these financial pressures are causing stakeholders to look at other sites for delivering more cost-effective, convenient care. "The rise of urgent care centers, clinics in pharmacies, and retail clinics are all examples of consumer-driven healthcare choices," Marzouk said. "I see a continued shift toward more easily-accessible sites like one's phone, storefront locations, and pharmacies that could be more affordable for patients."
Patients may now have more interest in controlling their healthcare costs, as more Americans have been moved into consumer-driven health plans with higher deductibles by their employers, who are searching for ways to control their health benefit expenses.
There is a growing awareness that patients who are educated and empowered to make sound healthcare decisions tend to have better outcomes, which can save money, particularly in the management of chronic diseases. In their full article , Dr. Weinstein and his fellow authors emphasize that research has shown that informed, empowered decisions can increase patient comprehension of benefits and risks of options, foster realistic expectations, decrease conflict and indecision, increase patient participation, and lead to decisions that help to reconcile patient values and choices.
It's clear that the rise of digital health, a changing attitude about the role of the patient, and cost constraints are all contributing to a new era in healthcare, where decisions will be driven by a collaborative relationship between empowered patients and their healthcare providers.