HealthManagement, Volume 23 - Issue 3, 2023


The traditional healthcare landscape across Europe is undergoing a marked shift towards a patient-centred approach. Patients are no longer passive recipients, but active participants who make informed choices when selecting their healthcare providers based on service criteria, such as proven quality, accessibility, proximity and value. This evolution reflects a consumer-oriented mindset, where ‘consumers’ are encouraged to demand choice and make informed healthcare decisions, reshaping and owning their medical journeys.


Key Points

  • Consumer behaviour has changed dramatically, with significantly more engagement by consumers in wellness and healthcare services.
  • Technology and new innovations are the driving forces behind this change and will continue to be pivotal in advancing medical care.
  • A consumer-centric approach is core to Affidea’s business model, where patients actively ‘shop’ for their provider and make informed decisions based on quality, accessibility and proximity.
  • Striving for brand loyalty, as with many other consumer sectors, is increasingly important.


There has been increased emphasis on patient-centric care in recent years, driven by consumer behaviours changing dramatically with significantly more consumer ‏engagement in wellness and health. Consumer interest ‏in healthcare impacts their choice of provider, location, ‏access and even health insurance. The transformation ‏is more than a trend; it is marked by intensified ‏engagement and patients owning their ‘health journeys’.

Affidea has been closely monitoring these trends ‏in healthcare consumerism, understanding the ‏significance of these shifts and embracing its role in ‏defining a more patient-centric delivery model. Our ‏commitment to setting new standards in patient care ‏and service spans the whole patient journey and is ‏underpinned by integrated technology and service ‏innovation with the desire to enhance medical care and ‏patient experience.

Central to this transformation is the role of IT, which ‏increasingly enables a more personalised patient ‏experience as well as enabling quicker diagnoses. At ‏Affidea, we acknowledge that patients are no longer ‏mere healthcare recipients of a ‘gatekeeper service’, but ‏active participants seeking integrated, patient-centred ‏care. The cultural barriers that once hindered access ‏must be replaced by a seamless, high-quality care ‏model that is effective, timely, and secure. This, being ‏the case for all payor categories – Public, Insured and ‏Self-Pay.



A consumer-centric approach is the essence of ‏Affidea’s business, where we believe patients should be ‏able to make an informed decision about their provider. ‏In the post-COVID-19 era, there is a new sense of ‏urgency. Swift diagnosis and treatment access are, ‏of course, priorities, but in many European markets, ‏the doctor or provider organisation no longer holds ‏sole decision-making power. Instead, an empowered ‏model has emerged, where patients have transitioned ‏into informed consumers, carefully selecting their ‏healthcare partners. In many European healthcare ‏systems, patients are increasingly encouraged to select ‏their community-based service provider – the public ‏commissioning purse is increasingly following the ‏patient!


At Affidea, we recognise the importance of viewing ‏patients as intelligent consumers, each having ‏legitimate expectations for both medical quality and ‏exceptional experience. In this new landscape, the ‏digital interface plays an important role in guiding patient ‏choices, sometimes outweighing the initial provider ‏recommendations from primary care physicians. To ‏cater to this digital-savvy generation, information ‏dissemination becomes paramount. Hence, as healthcare providers, we must provide patients with the relevant information they need to make decisions.


Furthermore, the shift to digital interfaces is ‏material. Our analysis indicates that 60% of patients ‏in our regions access healthcare services through ‏smartphones or tablets. Post-pandemic, the rise ‏of digital platforms for easy bookings has been ‏exponential. An increasingly important factor in ‏attracting patients now lies in accessibility, allowing ‏them to conveniently schedule appointments with their ‏desired specialists. As the industry continues to evolve, ‏this digital interaction is set to accelerate. 


What matters most to patients when selecting a provider

Proportion of surveyed patients who identified each factor as important

*Affidea Internal Sources


The consumer is now searching for service attributes ‏in healthcare that are common in retail or other ‏consumer services. Ease of booking, informed choices, ‏comprehensive understanding, and flexible appointment ‏selection have all become integral facets of patient ‏expectations. Timely appointments, accompanied by ‏seamless access to their digital records across any of ‏the facilities they want, are now integral to their patient ‏journey.


Recognising the role of women in healthcare decisions ‏cannot be underestimated. Tailored targeting becomes ‏essential, with nearly 80% of ‘family’ healthcare choices ‏influenced by women and over 50% of appointments ‏attended by women companions. Location is also an ‏essential factor. A large majority of patients search ‏with the words “near me”. Hence, proximity is key. ‏Affordability is important, but falls much lower in the ‏patient’s list of priorities.


In the shift to a more patient-focused care delivery ‏model, affordability, while still important, now shares ‏its priority status with service attributes. Today’s ‏healthcare consumer seeks more than diagnosis and ‏treatment. They demand high-quality services, digital ‏and streamlined processes, convenient locations, swift ‏access, and an in-depth understanding of their medical ‏journey. The patient voice should and will get stronger. ‏


At Affidea, we urge a future where patient-centric care ‏is not just a concept but an everyday reality.


Disclosure of conflict of interest: Point-of-View articles are the sole opinion of the author(s) and they are part of the Corporate Engagement or Educational Community Programme.