Deloitte 2010 Survey of Health Care Consumers

June 27, 2010
Paul Keckley, Deloitte Center for Health Solutions

Pharmaceutical Commerce, Pharmaceutical Commerce - May/June 2010,

More personal control over healthcare and the desire for more access to information drive consumer attitudes

The 2010 Survey of Health Care Consumers, conducted by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, is Deloitte’s third annual study of consumers’ attitudes, behaviors and unmet needs. Deloitte’s survey measured consumers’ views and actions across a wide range of issues affecting pharmaceutical, biotechnology and medical device companies. The beliefs and behaviors of US consumers continue to raise several important considerations for these industries:

Consumers want information to make their own healthcare decisions, whether it is from the Internet or their own data generated through their mobile devices; however, consumers do not trust manufacturer information. Considerations for life science companies:

  • Within appropriate regulatory guidelines, provide accurate and helpful information on company and branded websites.
  • Consider using educational videos and webinars to help educate consumers about their conditions.
  • Link content to academic medical centers, foundations and medical societies.
  • Consider the consumer experience and design integrated alerts and reminders that help alleviate compliance and adherence burdens.
  • Link alerts to consumers’ mobile devices.
  • Design clinical trials that use self-reporting through mobile devices to better personalize therapies.
  • Help consumers understand the relevant components of their health records so they can track their progress on chronic medications.
  • Continue to invest in companion diagnostics that help consumers understand the best medicine for both their condition and prognosis.

Similar to 2009, consumers want value in their medications and are cost-sensitive. Considerations for life science companies:

  • Help manage expectations about side effects and balance clear articulation of potential side effects with management strategies and longterm outcomes.
  • Continue to inform consumers about the longterm value of their products and provide them with accurate and helpful information about the impact on their health condition.
  • Continue to invest in longterm pharmacoeconomic studies that can inform both payors and consumers about the longterm value of therapies and the cost of noncompliance.
  • As more generics become available, recognize that consumers will increase their use of generic products: Manufacturers may want to consider diversifying their offerings in the healthcare space (e.g., retail clinics).
  • Seek to develop products that are differentiated by greater convenience, personalization and improved capabilities to self-monitor, especially for chronic conditions such as diabetes and dyslipidemia.
  • Continue to invest in pharmacogenomics and other diagnostic strategies to tailor medications to address side-effect sensitivity.

Consumers understand the concepts of wellness, healthy lifestyles and the impact of personal choice on health status. Considerations for life science companies:

  • Contemplate branching out from prescription medications into the nutraceutical space to capture more of the consumer value chain.
  • Consider testing whether alternative therapies can boost the tolerance to and/or efficacy of prescription medications, by tracking their use in clinical trials or patient registries.
  • Invest in the therapies that promote wellness and healthy living as well as the accompanying holistic programs that ensure compliance and success ( e.g., weight loss therapies with accompanying exercise and menu planning, smoking cessation therapies with meditation and acupuncture programs).
  • Consider alternative pricing and rebate strategies for high-volume retail clinic therapeutics, such as vaccines.

As Deloitte reported in 2009, healthcare consumerism is a meaningful trend, not an interesting fad. Despite the poor economy and the specter of healthcare reform, consumer attitudes in 2010 about their role in the US healthcare system did not change appreciably from the 2009 survey results. As consumers use increasingly sophisticated technology to seek information and an improved understanding of how their decisions impact their healthcare, we believe that consumerism will only increase in ensuing years.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul Keckley, PhD, is Executive Director for the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, Washington, DC. Tel: 202 220 2177; www,deloitte.com/centerforhealthsolutions