Exploring The Concept Of Consumer Confusion In Home Health Care

 

The concept of consumer confusion in the healthcare industry is worth understanding because it will help in both development and validation of the care process as well as help the home care agencies to improve the quality of life and the care process as well.

Over the years there has been a significant rise in the demand of home health care but with that there has also been a change in the concept of other different aspects such as:

  • Patient autonomy
  • Consumer sovereignty
  • Information provision and
  • All the essentials to decrease data asymmetries.

This means there will be no miscommunications between the patients and the healthcare service providers. However, care must be taken for greater availability of such third-party information sources because this can lead to customer confusion and negative side effects.

By nature, the patients can be confused regarding the type of care services to be provided as well as the cost of it. Therefore, it becomes the responsibility of the home care agencies to provide quality information to the patients to eliminate the chances of any confusion among the patients.

Consequences of a confused patient

According to the research conducted among a few competing health care providers it is found that such conflicting information causes a lot of patient confusion. This in turn affects the behavioral intention of the patients to choose a health care provider.

  • The present study confirms the model of patient confusion with reference to the context of hospital choice.
  • It also reveals the perceived overload of information and its similarity as well as its ambiguity which in turn affects the cognitive mechanisms of patient confusion.

When a patient is confused, they typically have an inclination to narrow down their choices as well as their available set of possible decision alternatives.

Finally, the customers should make an empirical analysis that will help them to know about the effective and cognitive elements that ideally leads to patient confusion. They will be able to mediate the perceived information overload, similarity, and vagueness of information regarding Home care jobs.

Care delivery at home

When it comes to delivering health care in the home it is quite different from a hospital or nursing home health care setting or any other institutional environment where nurses and home care aides work.

  • The home health care nurses work alone
  • They work depending on the support resources that are available from their central office and
  • They work on the basis of a nurse-physician relationship.

It also involves direct physician contact and in most of the cases it is found that it is the physicians who rely on the nurses to a greater degree for making proper assessments and analysis of the finding and also communicating it with the other team members.

  • The home health care nurses usually spend a significant part of their time on paperwork as compared to the nurses working in a hospital or a nursing home. They in fact spend a lot of time with the reimbursement issues.
  • There are also a few specific and distinctive characteristics that make the nurses working in a home health care environment much different for the other nurses working in different other settings. One of it is the safety, security and quality of outcomes.

In fact, there is a very high degree of patient autonomy found in a home setting that includes limited oversight as well as experience of the informal caregivers as compared to the professional home care givers of the clinicians. All these are situational and are variable according to the unique situations in each home.

Reasons consumers err

Now, with all these benefits and variances provided by a home heath care giver or a nurse, the natural question that may come to your mind is why exactly consumers make a mistake in choosing the right care plan.

Well, the first obvious reason seems to be the open enrollment plan that is provided by almost every kind of health insurance companies.

  • There are millions of people who use Medicare plans.
  • There are others who choose any other type of health insurance that is sponsored by the employer.

In addition to that, there are also a significant number of people who choose a specific health plan from the Affordable Care Act or ACA marketplaces.

Quite naturally, the consumers encounter with a large variety of options. According to research, it is revealed that it is due to this large variety of option that is available to the consumers that creates a confusion and in most of the times compels them to make a mistake in making the final choice. Invariably, more often than not they end up paying more than that need to pay for a particular health plan.

Type of confusions created

There are people who select plans that come with deductibles that are too low. Well, you may think that this is a fine choice but in most of the cases when you choose a plan that has lower deductible will have higher premium. That means when you save on deductibles while receiving the claims, you pay a large sum of money while you continue to pay the premiums.

Such type of mistakes made is typically seen when bulk insurance is sold to the employees of a firm. They hardly have the knowledge and skill to distinguish between the 26 plans they are offered and all seems to be identical to them. This forces them to bad deals which in most of the times is influenced by the choice of the colleagues.

People have a variety of reasons to make mistakes like this.

  • Some do not understand the basic concepts of health insurance
  • Some cannot identify the basic cost-sharing features and
  • Some are highly predictive of overpaying for a lower deductible.

Therefore, there is no doubt that the consumers face a lot of confusing situation when it comes to choosing a health insurance plan as well as a health care provider. Add to that, the different programs offered by the Medicare Advantage confuse the consumers even more. This is why a proper research is essential before making any such choice.

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