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Patient Care

While only a top-level view of this population, a picture is being revealed. Their role is clearly important in the care decision-making process, and they not only spend time, but also money to provide that care.

For many organizations, this may already be part of their existing strategy considerations. An additional part of these strategic implications, often overlooked, is that not all caregivers (or consumers) are the same. This “segment” that we call “caregivers” are not really a single “picture.” They, like any other group, can be further segmented into homogenous and maximally different groups. Treating them all the same is not the optimal way to impart information, and drive behavior.

In developing appropriate offerings and messages to address the Aging of America, and to the degree that organizational budgets and strategies allow, caregivers, like all consumers, must be differentially defined and reached. Doing so will be the most cost-effective approach to “doing more with less” and put those organizations that do so in the best position to thrive in the future.

There is at least one additional trend and opportunity for organizations, especially, ACOs, IDNs, and others with vested interest in ensuring that there is efficient and optimized care planning and delivery that can transcend the caregiver market. There are substantial knowledge gap as to system navigation across caregivers.

While some caregivers may not seek this kind of information, most certainly do, and the awareness of where to receive information is sorely lacking. By extension, we might expect the actual information to be lacking as well. A previous public opinion poll (2013) we conducted in New York State asked caregivers which agencies they were aware of that provided support to caregivers. We prompted respondents with the name of actual NY State and National agencies, as well as “made-up” or fake agency names, as a means to determine any biases in response (false positives, if you will). What we found is that the awareness levels of the actual state agency (New York State Office of Aging) was at only 19% and the fictitious agency name (“NY Cares A Lot”) was at 9%. This suggests that helpful information may not be known by 80% or more of caregivers. It also suggests that there is a massive opportunity to fill these gaps.

In summary, we all know that an aging population will spell big changes. As such, we should be cognizant that caregivers will be a big part of these changes, especially in the delivery of health care. Determining unmet needs and tailoring information and services to this constituent group is a major opportunity in the near term.




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