Patients Are Only People in Healthcare System Not Paid to Be There

I was absolutely intrigued by this tweet that was shared at last week’s #HITsm chat.

I’m still chewing on this idea and not sure if this matters and how it matters. I look forward to hearing your thoughts too. Here are a couple things I’m thinking about related to this.

First, the consumerization of healthcare. There really has been a weird dynamic in healthcare where consumers of healthcare (patients) really weren’t the people who were paying for the healthcare. Their employers generally were footing the bill and so patients were mostly interested in their co-payment and not much else since insurance was covering the rest. This has led to some really messed up dynamics when it comes to the cost of healthcare.

One of the trends happening in the industry is the shifting costs from employers to patients. This is largely happening on the backs of high deductible plans. We’re just starting to see the shock that these high deductible plans are having on patients. Once the shock’s been absorbed I think we’ll start seeing a much more proactive patient when it comes to how they choose a doctor and the price they’re willing to pay for medical care.

The second thing that the above tweet brings to mind is the idea of patients not wanting to be in the healthcare system. I’ve written regularly about the need for healthcare to start “Treating Healthy Patients.” That’s a huge shift in mentality from where we are today. Although, I’m hopeful that as ACO’s and value based reimbursement goes into effect, we’ll see a wave of health care that’s focused on outreach to patients who by all accounts are “healthy” or at least feel that way.

What do you think about these two topics? Are there other things we can learn from the perspective provided in the tweet above?

About the author

John Lynn

John Lynn

John Lynn is the Founder of the, a network of leading Healthcare IT resources. The flagship blog, Healthcare IT Today, contains over 13,000 articles with over half of the articles written by John. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 20 million times.

John manages Healthcare IT Central, the leading career Health IT job board. He also organizes the first of its kind conference and community focused on healthcare marketing, Healthcare and IT Marketing Conference, and a healthcare IT conference,, focused on practical healthcare IT innovation. John is an advisor to multiple healthcare IT companies. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can be found on Twitter: @techguy.


  • Great article! You have brought the two key healthcare shift factors together in a concise summarization. Healthcare cost shifting to the patient is a key component of fostering a medical customer’s engagement within their own healthcare. The third party guarantor distanced the patient from the provider and distorted the pricing formula created by hospitals.

    My hope is that pricing on the part of the medical community will realign to a more balanced pay per service ratio. Medical customers need to have a realistic reimbursement cost in order to sustain ongoing healthcare. There appears to be more of a focus on healthcare facilities and providers advertising their medical procedures to a wider customer base. This advertising stands as evidence of the medical customer’s newly recognized healthcare choices. Medical practices and facilities are competing for the patient dollar.

    The EHR has fostered a long over due progressive maturation process within the healthcare dynamic. The EHR has brought the focus back to the patient. There would appear to be new methods of medical reimbursement being practiced and considered. As a medical customer I could not be happier.

    The medical customer, that includes every single one of us, and subsequent patient, that is or will be every single one of us, are regaining our proper place at the healthcare conference table and that is at the head of the table. As direct paying customers we benefit by competition within the healthcare business.

  • Still waiting for any compelling evidence that healthy people benefit benefit from interaction with the medical system.

  • Brian,
    I don’t think they do in the current system. It would take a drastically different approach. The current system doesn’t know how to “treat” healthy patients.

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