Too Many Choices Can Cause Healthcare Consumer Paralysis, Says Andrea Simon In Recent Becker’s Article

Andrea-SimonSimon Associates Management Consultants, the consulting firm founded by Andrea Simon, Ph.D., recently conducted original research to learn more about healthcare consumers’ concerns during this time of enormous change in the industry. Dr. Simon turned her findings, with broad implications for both healthcare consumers and providers, into a very timely article, “The Paradox of Choice: When Too Many Options, Too Little Information Cause Healthcare Consumer Paralysis,” recently published by Becker’s Hospital Review.

Dr. Simon writes: “There’s nothing worse for people during changing times than ‘the paradox of choice,’ as Bernard Schwartz so aptly describes the dilemma of today’s culture. And nowhere is this better seen than among American patients as they’re trying to navigate the nuances of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.”

Change is upon us and we must have the courage to make needed alterations in our own healthcare regimes, she advises. Regardless of the particular life stage of the individuals who participated in SAMC’s research, the currently-insured healthcare consumers repeatedly raised four themes:

1. Mistrust

2. Cost options

3. Convenience is king

4. Choice overload

The challenge to healthcare organizations? The creation of new “best practices” to revive these consumers’ trust of physicians, to help them find the right mix of delivery options, to reinforce an emphasis on wellness and to reduce re-admissions to hospitals.

SAMC’s research also unearthed three problems with promising solutions:

Problem: Timely access to pediatricians for working parents
Solution: Evening hours

Problem: Obtaining helpful support and information online amid thousands of sources
Solution: Key, physician-approved sites

Problem: Some people have trouble getting to the physician’s office in the first place, especially the elderly
Solution: Shift the care model

As the healthcare landscape continues to evolve, Dr. Simon observes, it’s encouraging to see creative approaches that will help pave the way to an entirely new set of best practices, replacing those that are now obsolete. She cautions that there is a lot of work ahead to see what will be most effective for people who have always been insured, plus the previously uninsured individuals who will now be adding more pressure to healthcare systems.

To read Andrea Simon’s article in its entirety in Becker’s Hospital Review, click here.

Andrea Simon, PhD, principal and founder of Simon Associates Management Consultants, has over 20 years’ experience as a senior executive with healthcare and financial services institutions. Ms. Simon’s expertise lies in helping companies and non-profit institutions develop their brand positioning, redesign their organization’s culture, and improve their financial performance through innovative and effective product development and marketing.