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Patients as empowered ‘prosumers’ in healthcare

Patient-focused care, enabled by digital healthcare solutions, is creating era of 'prosumers' and changing clinician-patient relationships.
By admin
Mar 16, 2023, 1:37 PM

The voices of patients and their family members have an increasing impact on their care, based on the findings of a recent academic journal article. The authors of, “The patient as a prosumer of healthcare: insights from a bibliometric-interpretive review” (J Health Organ Manag. 2022 Apr 5;36(9):133-157), explain that patients are now seen more and more as participants in a model where healthcare services and value co-creation are seen as desirable goals. 

The idea of a “prosumer” in healthcare is gaining traction, as patients are taking a more active role in their own care. The term “prosumer” comes from the combination of the words “producer” and “consumer” and refers to a person who both produces and consumes a product or service contributing to its development, refinement, and innovation. 

As the researchers discovered, the concept of a prosumer in healthcare means that patients are no longer passive recipients of care but are active partners in co-creating value. They describe this as a “virtuous and self-nourishing process of patients’ enablement.” By taking an active role in their own healthcare, prosumers can improve the patient experience and contribute to the design and delivery of healthcare services. Healthcare providers and patients can work together to improve the quality and effectiveness of care, resulting in better health outcomes for all. 

They describe the progression of patient from consumer to prosumer as a four-stage evolution:  

  • Activation – Patients gain access to their own health information, allowing them to make more informed choices.  
  • Empowerment – Patients gain “the knowledge, skills and expertise to participate as co-producers in the provision of healthcare services.”  
  • Involvement – An ongoing conversation between patients and clinicians produces “continuous value co-creation.”  
  • Engagement – A full partnership between patients and healthcare professionals that can be described as a “therapeutic alliance.” This is a major paradigm shift compared to the historical, hierarchical dichotomy between clinicians as omniscient caregivers and patients as passive recipients of therapeutic interventions. 

Prosumers of healthcare can also play an active role in their own health on the prevention side, by educating themselves about their conditions, communicating effectively with their healthcare providers, and making informed decisions about their treatment options. 

By providing feedback and suggestions, and eventually creating true therapeutic alliances, prosumers can help healthcare providers improve the patient experience, from the design of the facility to the delivery of care. The endgame for both patients and providers is to make the care process more effective and efficient. 

Building on extensive experience in the fields of journalism, media production, and learning design and development, John Marc Green’s newest adventure is serving as Director of CHIME Innovation. In this role, his ongoing conversations with CHIME Members and Partners provide insights and direction to serve their interests in a variety of ways, including digital healthcare innovation journalism, professional development events and program facilitation, and on-demand educational development through CHIME Innovation. 

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