Consumer Value Preferences in Healthcare

 - Journal of Creating Value

Emerging healthcare practices emphasize a value-driven approach in healthcare management by pressing the need to highlight more at what matters to the patient against what is generally offered in the service provision (Agarwal et al., 2020; Lynn et al., 2015; Keiningham et al., 2017). Agarwal et al. (2020) observed that the healthcare landscape is shifting towards emphasizing value over volume (service provisions) as consumer preferences and experiences play a central role in determining healthcare experience. This shift is paralleled by long-standing research focus on consumer value (Gallarza et al., 2017; Holbrook, 1999) and a ground breaking academic shift within services marketing driven by ‘servicedominant logic’ (SDL; Vargo & Lush, 2004), which claims that value is co-created by a joint effort of service providers and consumers.

All of the researchers agree that consumers are seen as empowered actors whose involvement in value creation phenomenologically determines the final value in terms of their experiential outcomes (Gummerus, 2013; Holbrook & Hirschman, 1982). Research on patient choice management facilitates value-sensitive consumer decisions in healthcare (Chen et al., 2018).

Research on ‘consumer value in healthcare’ has been scant with some exceptions (such as Dagger et al., 2007, Dodds et al., 2018; Frow et al., 2016; McColl- Kennedy et al., 2012, 2017; Zainuddin et al., 2016), and very little is known about the role of a consumer’s value preferences in value creation process. To extend knowledge contribution in this area, this study attempts to examine various forms of consumer value and their nature (positive or negative), which are likely to shape consumer value preferences. The study has multifold contributions. First, it provides empirical evidence to the claim that all value types are not positive.

Consumers often make trade-offs between positive and negative value types while evaluating the services. Thus, the study underscores the trade-off perspective of consumer value. Second, aligning with the emerging academic advances in transformative service research (TSR; Anderson, & Ostrom, 2015), the research emphasizes consumer well-being outcomes as an essential component of value in healthcare services. Well-being has subjective traits that depend on in process value experience (Davern et al., 2007; Rask et al., 2002).

Every individual defines his well-being based on personal cognitive and emotional perceptions. Thus, it is implied that if the healthcare consumer perceives himself in a positive state of well-being (during or post treatment), then his overall experience of healthcare value would also be positive. The importance of well-being is also echoed in a recent framework for value-centred marketing (Agarwal et al., 2020), where wellbeing outcomes take the central role in delivering value-based care. To add utility for practitioners, the research study provides an insight to create value in service provisions as per the consumer preferences. This understanding of value preferences could also mitigate over-provision or under-provision of services (Porter & Kaplan, 2016).