Today's Health Care Consumers have COMsumer Habits - Social Media Pearls

Today’s Health Care Consumers have COMsumer Habits


I believe health care consumers do far more than just consume. In a recent post I introduced the term COMsumers and their COM habits. In this post I am going to demonstrate how health care consumers exhibits all 8 COMsumer habits: 

1. Today’s Health Care Consumers are dot COM savvy

Today’s health care consumer is dot com savvy. 8 out of 10 internet users search for health information online [Susannah Fox,PewInternet]. It should also be noted that just under half of those internet users (48%)  search health information on behalf of another person. This speaks to the importance of care-givers in health care management. The internet has enabled ways for patients and care-givers to find and help each other. The social web has led to the growth of health care social networks, blogs and on-line communities. Social communities has enabled people to share and respond to each others health care questions and needs.

2. Today’s Health Care Consumers want to comprehend

Health care consumers are no longer a passive recipient when it comes to managing their health. Understanding their health and disease condition is very important to consumers today. They want to understand the information and treatment “being served”. Health care consumers and advocates are striving for increased patient partnerships. Today, health care consumers are  a lot more vocal about sharing their patient experience and want to better understand their own medical information and records.

3. Today’s Health Care consumers want more communication

Health care consumers are “hungry” for straight talk. They want more dialogue in a language they understand. They are seeking clarity and support. They are also asking for more listening. Many patients and care-givers have taken to blogging as a key communication vehicle. In fact, patient blogging has grown significantly over the years. Patients blog for a number of reasons; it has become an important communication tool to help them manage their care and well being.

4. Today’s Health Care Consumers are community-driven

Over the past two years, there has been over 150 million health tweets on Twitter alone!  Health care communities, such as Health Care Social Media [#HCSM, #HCSMCA, #HCSMEU], have developed high profile on-line communities. One-third of U.S. consumers are using YouTube, Facebook and Twitter to find medical information and research. People are sharing their symptoms and opinions about doctors, treatments, drugs and health plans on these social platforms. We are now living in a time where health care on-line, social communities are becoming a more accepted source of support and advice. Today’s internet-savvy health care consumer is no stranger to these communities.

5. Today’s Health Care Consumers compare

Health care consumers want options. They want to conduct their own comparative analysis. Google health-related searches  are now commonplace. Health care consumers are comparing treatments, practices and drug manufacturers. They share and compare their findings with their network. The Rise Of The Patient Talk Radio show revealed that care-givers and patients are avid students when it comes to understanding their health care condition. They will go across borders to seek quality health information, treatment and care. 

6. Today’s Health Care Consumers compose

Health care consumers can be extremely creative and resourceful in finding options for managing their care. The most well known example is that of e-patient Dave. After being diagnosed with terminal cancer, e-patient Dave found a treatment option when he joined the on-line patient community ACOR [Association of Cancer Online Resources]PatientsLikeMe is another excellent example of a patient social network that is driving patient collaboration and creativity. The recently launched patient-centered outcomes research institute (PCORI) is taking health care consumer collaboration to another level. PCORI encourages health care consumers to be part of designing, composing, reviewing and participating in patient-centered research.

7. Today’s Health Care Consumers commandRegina Holliday Cited as the most powerful voices in health care. Health care consumers

Many patients and care-givers have formed vibrant and high profile networks. They have partnered with health care  professionals and leaders to drive change. Regina Holliday is a well known medical advocate driving such a change. Regina Holliday has recently been cited as one of 12 women with powerful voices in health care innovation. Regina is a health care consumer and advocate striving for increased patient partnerships when developing new health care policies and technology innovations. Another example is Dr. Vicki Whiting. Dr. Vicki Whiting is an award winning author for her book “In Pain We Trust”. Dr. Vicki Whiting is an advocate for increased partnering and listening for all those involved in health care management. Health care consumers are beginning to attend medical conferences not only as attendees, but also as speakers. E-Patient Dave has been (and continues to be) the opening speaker for countless medical and health care conferences across the globe.

8. Today’s Health Care Consumers commit

Engaged health care consumers are very passionate stakeholders. They form sincere and meaningful partnerships. Health care consumers form bonds with others who have similar interests, values and are very open to learning. Many are problem solvers. Today’s health care consumers are  committed to their network, committed to helping others and committed to those who can support or drive improvements in health care management.


 In closing:

I believe a new type of social consumer leadership is emerging. I believe a new way of partnering and collaboration in health care has emerged. I recognize that this is my take and a model I have proposed. So now it is your turn. What do you think? Are you a health care COMsumer?

Thank you for indulging in my scripts!


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