Consumer Health and Wellness: Contradictions and Tensions Mean Opportunities

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Consumer health and wellness is a story of contradictions, tensions and opposing forces. And health and wellness businesses who can navigate this minefield, simplify the landscape and offer meaningful guidance to consumers will reap the benefit.

Whose health is it, anyway?

Consumers want comprehensive solutions… yet some health and wellness practitioners operate in functional silos.

Customers are increasingly taking control of their healthcare… but many health providers cringe when they hear “I looked it up on the Internet.” And consumers want to optimize their health and wellness without getting on the overtreatment and overmedicalization merry-go-round.

They’re also getting mixed messages from public health officials: increasing emphasis on individual responsibility paired with stronger public health mandates.

That’s why many people look to wellness providers, not traditional healthcare providers or one-size-fits-all diet or fitness programs, for the promise of engagement with their health goals on their terms.

An empowered health and wellness consumer — or one more thing to worry about?

The push for individual responsibility is ironically made much more difficult by the vast amount of (mostly) freely available, frequently conflicting health and wellness information. That’s information that most consumers lack the time, interest and know-how to evaluate. (Heck, many health and wellness professionals don’t manage to stay on top of it, either.)

Despite these barriers, ready or not — and like it or not — consumers will increasingly become CEOs of their own health.

The good news is that they need and want help doing this, which means ample opportunity for health and wellness businesses.

The need for a consumer health and wellness GPS

Rising to this opportunity means nothing short of a marketing — and truly, a business — revolution in the wellness, fitness and healthcare industries. These businesses have traditionally sold individual products and services, not integrated solutions that actually pull all the pieces together.

Consumers want a comprehensive solution to a specific health problem or concern, assembled from the relevant services by a knowledgeable professional. They don’t want to have to chase down a personal trainer AND a dietician AND a physical therapist AND an endocrinologist just to complete their town’s Annual 5K Diabetes Walk Challenge. If they’re too tired to work out, they may blame themselves for lack of motivation, when the real culprit is the beta-blocker they’re taking for high blood pressure. Would a typical consumer even know to consider this issue? Would a consumer taking multiple meds from multiple specialists even know that a consulting pharmacist can do a medication review for possible side effects?

Of course not.

Businesses that step up to the challenge, help integrate care, and extend their reach beyond their own facilities into venues that are convenient for the customer will find virtually limitless opportunity.