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In recent years, the role that consumers play in the U.S. health care system has become a prominent theme as employer- and government-sponsored insurance programs promote consumerism and policymakers focus attention on healthier lifestyles and more prudent use of the system. This research study by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, part of Deloitte LLP, provides an important and timely perspective on health care consumerism. It features a comprehensive assessment of consumers' behaviors, attitudes and unmet needs related to health, health care and health insurance. It also points to six discrete segments of the overall consumer market, providing a profile of their key characteristics and differences. The conceptual framework upon which this research is built reflects what we consider to be the five major domains of health care consumer activity: use of traditional health services from medical professionals and hospitals, use of alternative and non-conventional approaches to care, self-directed care, information seeking and financing. In recent months, many U.S. health care reform proposals have focused on increasing consumer responsibility for clinical and financial decisions related to health care for themselves and their family members. The purpose of this study by Deloitte was to assess the behaviors, attitudes and unmet needs of adult consumers to provide health care industry leaders and policymakers with a comprehensive perspective on the current state of health care consumerism.
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