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Healthcare will be consumer-driven - more from Connected Health (3 of 5)

We are headed to a Consumer-Driven Healthcare Market that is personalized and integrated, with connected healthcare lifting limits of demand and job lock, staying in a job in order to retain health insurance -- so says Regina Herzlinger, Professor, Harvard Business School and author of Who Killed Healthcare? Her predictions: First and foremost, employers will cash you out of your job-locking employer-based system into a consumer-based market, where you buy you own health insurance. You will then engage with a network of providers that act as a team, use technology-enabled integrative tools to share information among them (versus you, the patient doing the integration). How to avoid the pre-existing condition exclusion trap? Consider the Swiss model -- where you buy your own health insurance, where the insurer participates in a reinsurance pool that balances risk – where supply is somewhat constrained but demand is ‘liberated.’

Professor Herzlinger noted one dimension of market-driven change occurring today -- there are 500-700,000 medical travelers, supported by medical travel agencies like BestMedJournies. These consumers travel to countries like India seeking lower cost and higher quality procedures; where medical practices and hospitals are refining and upgrading their facilities specifically to cater to the US market of medical travelers. 

Finally, she noted that when demand is liberated, whether by lack of coverage or constraint, suppliers introduce more choice. And when consumers pay, they respond to information.  Examples include concierge medicine, Geisinger Medical Home, and new transparency of information about quality -- like HealthGrades.

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