Patients expect personalized approach to health care, study finds

PwC survey finds strong desire among baby boomers for health kiosks in pharmacies

NEW YORK — As patients face higher out-of-pocket costs for drugs and more complex treatment plans, they expect greater focus on their needs, like they would get from retail, which creates new opportunities for drug manufacturers, according to a new report from PwC.

The report, by PwC's Health Research Institute, found that drug companies would need to pursue a more sophisticated patient segmentation strategy, focused more on the customer, resulting in patients who "own" their treatment plans and better manage their conditions. the report was based on a survey of more than 700 U.S. consumers regarding their preferences and behavior in selection and use of drug treatments.

"Patients are exerting greater control over their health care, and they want their medication experience to be effective, personalized and meaningful," PwC principal Karla Anderson said. "If their expectations are met, they're more likely to follow the proper course of treatment and remain engaged with customers far longer."

Consumers, the report found, expect the same treatment they receive in other settings, such as retail, banking and travel. They are willing to pay 19% more for a "no wait time" prescription, while affluent baby boomers and Generation Xers with chronic conditions will pay 52% more.

Other findings include that treatment costs are the top reason why people stop taking medications; that baby boomers with multiple chronic conditions have less medication adherence than average, but are willing to address it, and some 41% want do-it-yourself pharmacy health screening stations, while 37% want a mobile app to monitor vitals and provide contextual understanding of their prescriptions. Meanwhile, almost all respondents said drug companies did not play a role in their diagnosis and treatment decisions, suggesting that current pharmaceutical education and communication had limited effect. 

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