Consumers are more engaged with their healthcare than ever before. At least, that's the assumption. Certainly, it's what recent changes in the healthcare system have come to demand. And, with the profusion of digital tools and resources for finding health information and quantifying the health-related aspects of the self, it is hard not to see increased engagement as a natural outgrowth of the information age—a sign of the liberation of the consumer afforded by social media, the Internet, and the overall relentless pace of technological advances.
But how are consumers engaging with their healthcare in today's environment? More importantly, what drives engagement, and what hinders motivation or ability to engage? The behavioral science literature points to attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors that are known to lead to better health outcomes. This includes everything from following the doctor's advice on medication adherence to believing one can be effective at various aspects of health self-management. But, do these beliefs and attitudes align to produce the kind of consumer that marketers desire and that the healthcare system expects?