Healthcare Equality Index: Business Case for Participation
Ensuring equal treatment for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in healthcare settings is not only the right thing to do, it is good for business. Data shows healthcare consumerism is on the rise and LGBT consumers pay attention to whether service providers are LGBT friendly when making their purchasing decisions. Implementing the policies and practices outlined in the Healthcare Equality Index will establish a welcoming environment for the LGBT healthcare consumer and add to a facility’s visibility as an LGBT-friendly healthcare provider.
Healthcare consumerism is on the rise.
Evidence shows a current rise in healthcare consumerism, where consumers select physicians based on clinical reputation, out-of-pocket costs, and the clinical philosophy of the practice. (Deloitte LLP 2009 Survey of Health Care Consumers: Key Findings, Strategic Implications)
Consumers use quality and cost information to select providers and health plans.
- 57% say they would use quality rankings to compare doctors and hospitals in their community (Deloitte LLP 2009 Survey of Health Care Consumers: Key Findings, Strategic Implications)
Differentiation of hospitals based on perceived quality is significant and increasing.
- Consumers (62%) believe that hospitals vary with respect to quality, an increase from 55% in 2008.
- Comparing hospital quality is higher for inpatient use (15%) compared to outpatient use (8%).
- Most rely on recommendations from medical professionals (67%), websites (57%), friends and relatives (48%) and health plans (42%) to learn about quality differences. (Deloitte LLP 2009 Survey of Health Care Consumers: Key Findings, Strategic Implications)
LGBT consumers are brand loyal.
Evidence supports a growing trend in healthcare consumers who “shop around” for the best care at the best price, and evidence also supports brand loyalty among LGBT consumers. Therefore, it follows that the LGBT community is likely to “shop around” for and be loyal to healthcare organizations that offer the best care to the LGBT community.
A growing trend within healthcare consumerism is medical tourism. Because of disparate approaches among healthcare organizations regarding LGBT policies, stated patient-care guidelines that are inclusive of LGBT concerns can help drive brand-loyal consumers to one healthcare organization over another despite geographical boundaries.
- 64% of gay and lesbian adults say that when selecting a product or service, all other considerations being equal, they will select the brand that has a reputation for being more gay friendly (Witeck-Combs Communications/Harris Interactive)
- 33% of self-identified gays and lesbians say that an insurance company’s offering of domestic partner benefits to its employees would be one of the top three reasons why they would change providers and take their business to another insurance carrier. (Witeck-Combs Communications/Harris Interactive)
- The buying power of the LGBT community is projected to be $759 billion in 2009 (Witeck-Combs Communications/Harris Interactive).
Participation in the HEI helps establish a facility's LGBT-friendly "brand."
Organizations that already recognize the unique characteristics of LGBT healthcare (specific health issues, decision making and visitation rights) can take the opportunity to gain more visibility within the LGBT community by participating in the Healthcare Equality Index, and thus drive LGBT consumers their way.