Predicting the Future of ePatients

Nearly half of ePatients living in the United States say the web has helped them get treatment faster, better communicate with their doctors, understand medications, or otherwise “CareHack” the health system over the past three years, according to new data published in EPATIENT 2015: 15 Surprising Trends Changing Health Care.

The book covers 15 trends that are sorted into three themes (see all in infographic):

  1. Health Hyperefficiency – technology is making healthcare more efficient
  2. The Personalized Health Movement – genetics and behavior tracking are making healthcare more personalized
  3. Digital Peer-to-Peer Healthcare – web technologies help patients and caregivers work together to navigate the healthcare landscape

Computer Couple

I agree with these three insights, and here’s why: In an era of increasing consumerization of healthcare, patient demand for more personalized services at the right place at the right time continues to grow. It’s happened in banking, travel, retail, and even government services. Now it’s happening in the healthcare sector. As patients move through their journeys of care, from diagnosis to treatment to recovery, the kinds of questions, decisions and information they need changes. Patients – and their families – must be provided with relevant information in the context of each stage. More often this information will be provided on-demand.

Also, as reform drives more patient-centricity and consumers start paying a larger share of healthcare costs, we see more individuals and families playing a stronger role in choosing their providers and services. Healthcare providers must now compete for consumer mindshare and dollars, and are looking to redefine their care delivery processes to become more connected, engaging, and (most of all) convenient. One important opportunity for competitive advantage is the online experience. Most hospitals are not there yet, but we can expect to see considerable investments being made here comparable to the banking, retail, and hospitality sectors, where online access and convenience has become a considerable source of competitive differentiation for acquiring market share.

The industry as a whole is going through a transformation, but everyone is not moving at the same pace. There are some providers and payers that are on the front edge of that transformation today that are shaping the industry. They are driving the demand for new insights, new strategies and innovation. Like the authors of ePatient 2015, we have seen the effects of these themes first hand, in leading healthcare organizations who are looking forward and seeing the growing demand from patients for a better, empowered, and digital experience.

As we start 2014, I think it’s unrealistic to expect to see these trends change healthcare dramatically in the next year. But those organizations who take the first mover advantage to align with these trends and connect with patients the way they want to be connected with will certainly see the benefits.

If you have read the book, or checked out the 15 key trends in the infographic, let me know in the comments below: Which trends do you think will be most impactful in 2014?


The Web is an amazing tool. The infographic PDF exemplifies the density of this perspective. That can make it amazing and daunting for us.

Time will help shape what aspects and trends and mechanisms will survive. I’ve used it for connecting more easily to people/clients/patients around the world. I think this world wide exposure to help many will be amazing.

People in places of poorer infrastructure, have difficulty getting on the web–but surprising this is countered by the ready availability of the cell phone and data streaming. Although in these poorer countries/areas that have cell phones for field workers–the “tool” is not used for health searches, etc., but social/entertainment purposes. They still use the familiar traditional venues to access health information, etc.

So there will need to be time and a learning curve with a desire for change that will allow greater utilization of the ePatient experience in the above mentioned circumstances.

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