Healthcare Consumerism: The Disconnect Between Knowing What Needs to Change and Putting a Strategy in Place to Get There
Findings from Kaufman Hall’s 2018 Healthcare Consumerism Survey show a wide awareness among hospitals and health systems that consumer expectations are changing, and that hospitals need to focus on fulfilling those expectations. As one healthcare executive respondent commented: “We are assuming we know what [consumers] want, but I am not sure we do.”
Only 8% of hospitals and health systems demonstrate a strong consumer-centric performance, but 90% of respondents say that improving the consumer experience is top priority.
There are four main areas of consumerism that the survey reported on: :
While many health organization define access as their “ambulatory” strategy, the broader definition of access includes physical and virtual sites of care, websites, web portals, email, and text availability.
Innovative approaches to access are not common in today’s healthcare environment, the study reports that:
- Only 27 % of respondents reported retail clinics as widely available
- Only 14% reported video visits as widely available
- Only 17% reported e-visits were widely available
- Only 4% said concierge primary care was widely available
To provide a delightful patient experience, as opposed to simply satisfactory, organizations must provide a seamless and easy-to-navigate health care system. Common pain points with patient-consumer experience include lack of price transparency, billing confusion, long wait times and difficulty scheduling appointments.
Areas in which hospitals and health systems could be seen as far behind their non-healthcare counterparts:
- Offering easy-to-find phone numbers: 64% fully implemented, 18% piloted
- Providing customer service training for staff: 50% fully implemented, 31% piloted
- Improving facility wayfinding support: 37% fully implemented, 30% piloted
- Reducing office wait times: Just 17% of organizations reported having fully implemented initiatives, although 44% are piloting such initiatives
- Providing customer-friendly billing statements: Less than 50% of survey respondents have implemented or are piloting related initiatives
According to the survey results pricing pain points are a huge mitigating factor in consumerism. In addition to better financial transparency of how much medical services cost, the bigger question for debate is how much medical services should cost. The survey shows there is a long way to go to deliver better pricing management against the demands of consumers.
- Nearly 25% are not pursuing organizational efforts to provide more price transparency for patients and families
- Less than 50% respond to consumers’ requests for price quotes within a defined time period
- Only 10% of organizations list prices online.
Analytics on consumer insights, psycho-graphic segmentation, journey mapping, and key performance metrics are the building blocks of creating a personalized patient experience and loyal patient base.
- 70% of organizations have either not begun or are in the very early stages of consumerism.
- Only 25% of organizations said they have a fully operational data and analytics team that performs statistical modeling, or a consumer-oriented performance scorecard
- Just 15% have personnel trained and experienced in consumer research
Read our infographic and click to download a pdf.
The Bottom Line
The results from the annual Kaufman Hall report make it clear that organizations are in immediate need of improving their strategy to create a plan that adapts to the changing demands of consumerism.
The first step is to gain insight into who patient-consumers are—their key behaviors, their needs—and ultimately why they will remain loyal to an organization instead of seeking care somewhere else. It is essential for you to bridge the gap between thinking we know what patients want and listening to their pain points.