Thursday, June 22, 2006

Consumer's Medical Resource: Turning Patients Into Informed Consumers

Consumer's Medical Resource: Turning Patients Into Informed Consumers:Escalating costs. Varying degrees of quality. Increasing dissatisfaction. The U.S. health care system has fallen into severe decline over the last decade, dramatically bringing into question the future of a trillion-dollar industry. Is a revolution around the corner? Consumer's Medical Resource (CMR) sees an inflection point in the current health care delivery system in which the process is becoming consumer, not provider, driven.

The three key forces accelerating this transformation to a consumer-driven health care market are:

* Health care costs are escalating - again.
* Perceived lack of quality, dissatisfaction with the managed care system.
* The impact of Internet connectivity.

In response to these market place realities, CMR believes a consumer-driven approach is the best way to ensure that high quality, satisfactory, cost-efficient health care is delivered in the United States.

Consumer's Medical Resource (CMR) provides Medical Decision Support (MDS™) services to employees of FORTUNE 500, and other large organizations, who face serious, complicated, and chronic illness. MDS™ is a decision support service that offers patients in-depth, objective, personalized, and latest-breaking information on their diagnosis and available treatment options. The information is assembled and distributed by a physician-led team. These physicians are affiliated with 'America's Top 5' medical schools."


  1. Hello, Dr. Malpani.

    The managed care organization that I work for is in a U.S. state that recently amended the laws governing managed care organizations so that HMO plans can be "incentivized." The general consensus here (both in my organization and - apparently - at the state capitol) is that whatever "push" factors are impacting managed care subscribers, they are insufficient to motivate them to take real ownership of their health, either through a CDHP or a more traditional plan, thus the change in the law allowing "pull" mechanisms for HMOs and PPOs.

    I personally don't believe that CDHPs in and of themselves will do much to improve the state of healthcare in the USA. I believe that without extra incentives in the way of "bonuses" or "discounts" for related services, people who enter into a CDHP voluntarily will see them as an administrative headache and opt out at the first opportunity; people forced into them will resent them and avoid better informing themselves about their health.

    As you've addressed the issue of CDHPs in the United States by citing the above CMR article, I'm curious what your take is. I would also like to know to what extent you agree or disagree with the article's implied argument that healthcare consumers will respond to rising costs by using the Internet as a way to find healthcare providers whom they perceive as delivering higher-quality care. Do you think these subscribers are proactively looking to get more "bang for their buck," or are reactively trying to "stretch their dollar" for all it's worth)?

  2. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. It's early days, and it's anyone guess how CDHPs will work in real life. Lots of things which look great on paper ( for example, HMOs) do badly when we try to implement them in real life.
    I think the reality is going to be that consumers are of different breeds, and they are all going to have different needs and wants. The great thing about a market mechanism for delivering services is that each consumer can pick what works for him.
    One size is never going to fit everyone; and clever companies will realise this and try to provide different models to consumers, so they can pick and choose what works best for them. Different strokes for different folks - and may the best man win !


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