COVID-19 Drives Patient Consumerism

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Key Insights

  • COVID-19 has increased healthcare consumerism. Patients want to have high-quality online experiences and convenient access to their physician.
  • Physicians may need to make changes to their practices’ workflows to accommodate the consumer-centric demands.

Where Health Organizations Stand

COVID-19 has increased demand for accessible and convenient care, but some healthcare organizations are falling behind with their consumer-friendly features. A new study by Kaufman Hall shows that some healthcare organizations, including primary care practices, are missing the mark when it comes to meeting patient demand.

Although “81 percent of survey respondents identified improving the consumer experience as a top priority for their organizations,” many healthcare organizations have not addressed important patient concerns. Key conveniences include:

  • Clinic hours. Only 42 percent of healthcare organizations provide “walk-in clinic hours,” and 37 percent offer “same-day appointments.” Same-day, next-day, and walk-in appointments “are common access strategies,” that physicians can implement.
  • Virtual visits. While 42 percent of healthcare organizations “identified ‘using digital tools to engage consumers’ as a high-to-extreme priority,” and 80 percent have implemented a patient portal, they forgot the online experience. According to a study by Accenture, 50 percent of patients report that “a bad digital experience with a healthcare provider ruins the entire experience with that provider.”
  • Mobile apps. Young patients are attracted to practices that offer mobile accessibility to their physicians, however, only 31 percent of organizations offer an app with these capabilities.
  • Billing options. Billing is a pain point for patients, and only 38 percent of healthcare organizations offer “consumer-friendly billing statements and payment options.” These options include online payment portals and detailing bills that show the exact price for each procedure.

What This Means for Providers

As this trend toward consumer-friendly healthcare tech continues, primary care physicians, specialists, and providers may find themselves needing to adopt new virtual health technology or make changes to their practices to attract younger patients. Among Gen Z, “41 percent would prefer a virtual or digital experience.” It is important that physicians consider all aspects of their patient’s experience from the minute they walk in the office to the minute they leave.

In addition to expanding their appointment capabilities and extending walk-in hours, physicians should mitigate concerns involving poor digital experience by researching virtual health platforms. Using a virtual health platform with poor functionality can result in a poor online experience that will deter patients from virtual visits. Virtual health platforms that are integrated directly into the practice’s electronic health record (EHR) increase accessibility and convenience for the patient.

Read more tips to incorporate healthcare consumerism in your practice from inforMD, the Privia Health blog.

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