Key Factors That Influence Behavior of Health Care Consumer, the Basis of Health Care Strategies

Article excerpt

ABSTRACT. Modern concepts of marketing assume that the activity of any organization has to be focused on satisfying consumers' needs, real or potential. As applicable to other goods and services, the behavior of health services consumer is the result of the many factors both external (cultural factors, social factors, etc.) and internal (personal factor and psychological factors). In order to explain the behavior of the health care services consumer, it is not enough to study its individual factors, but it is also necessary to analyze the relation between the various elements which determine the real behavior of health services consumer. It is also important to study the decisions at the macroeconomic level (e.g. Ministry of Health), which can influence consumer behavior health services.

Keywords: health services consumer, cultural factors, subculture, social classes, social factors, affiliation group, personal factors, psychological factors

1. Introduction

Health strategies cannot be achieved without a deep knowledge of consumer behavior health services and factors of its influence. Some of these factors related to macroeconomic policy applied by health legislation, which limits consumer access to certain services and on the other hand, there are a number of cultural factors, social, personal and psychological factors that determine health care consumer behavior.

In addition, consumer behavior is the result of various stakeholders, such as doctors recommending or prescribing consumption or use of services, opinion leaders, people who by their social position, and influence the behavior of consumers, family members or groups who individual belongs.

Through macroeconomic policies, strategies and tactics adopted are aimed at public health surveillance, public health promotion, disease prevention and offer design and service provided, depending on the characteristics and mode of manifestation of consumers. Strong regulation of this area has an impact on health care consumer behavior. Thus, the policy adopted is based at the Ministry of Health, which conducted the study of economic and social environment and means of adapting to the needs of the public health system and in accordance with the requirements of European Union integration.9

Health services consumers differ from consumers of other types of goods and services, because of certain particularities arising from the specific character of the market, of the supplier - consumer relations, of the manner how the health system is organized. Unlike other fields, in which the number of consumers is usually limited, in the field of health services, in theory, anybody can become a consumer at a particular moment, and consequently the potential market is very large.

On the basis of the needs one may identify at the level of the market, consumers can be divided into four categories:6 The first category consists of persons who face severe health problems that require specialized staff and equipment; The second category consists of persons who attend routine investigations, persons who go to doctors' offices for treatment voluntarily; The third category consists of persons who need optional services; The fourth category consists of persons who do not turn to medical services, who, most of the times, treat themselves on their own. Research has proven that their number is very high and that they usually turn to doctors when the first option has failed. Drugstores offer a wide range of products for home treatment, and the personal sources and the Internet facilitate this type of treatment. This article aims therefore to present the main factors influencing consumer behavior health services, both as a result of state intervention and as a result of individual-level factors.

2. The role of law in consumer behavior

Health services sector is probably one of the most dynamic sectors of the economy and contemporary society, changing in response to a whole category of power: patient expectations, changing social patterns, public policies and new technology. …