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Segmentation of Health Consumers

By December 30, 2013Commentary

Using information gathered from surveys, Deloitte’s Center for Health Solutions has divided consumers into six segments in regard to their approach to health and health care.  A new brief expands upon the nature of these segments.   (Deloitte Brief)   Deloitte divides consumers into “content and compliant”, “sick and savvy”, “casual and cautious”, “online and onboard”, “shop and save” and “out and about”.  About one third of people are basically disengaged, not perceiving much concern about health or need for health services (the casual and cautious segment); and this number has grown from about a quarter of people in 2008.  Around 50% are relatively passive, relying on doctors and other providers to make decisions and being generally compliant with therapies (the content and compliant and casual and cautious segments).  The remainder of the segments tend to be more actively involved in their health and care.  As might be expected, the less engaged tend to be younger and less likely to have insurance.  They may not necessarily, however, be healthier.  Older generations tend to have more health needs and probably therefore tend to fall into the more engaged segments.  Without going into all the detail in the brief, segments tend to have different views of the quality of the health system, the value of health reform, satisfaction with their care, approach to prevention and individual health responsibility and financial preparedness for health care needs.    There are other segmentation approaches to health consumers and we can always quibble about the right way to divide up consumers, assuming there is a right way.  What is most important is to recognize that not all people approach the world from the same framework or mindset and understanding differences can help to maximize the effectiveness of patient engagement activities, whether for wellness or shared decision-making in regard to treatment choices.   From a less altruistic perspective, these segmentation schemes also help purveyors of health care goods and services target individuals more precisely.  The Deloitte approach is as good a start as any for those purposes.

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