Two things — and price and convenience aren’t among them — can cause even satisfied patients to switch providers.
Empowered by the continued rise of consumerism in health care, 60% of consumers say they would switch to another provider for more trust and respect, according to a recent Huron Consulting Group study. This is despite the fact that 75% of consumers are satisfied with their care.
Trust and respect are by far the leading reasons why patients would try a new provider, despite the ongoing efforts of both providers and disruptors to bring consumer-oriented conveniences to health care. Furthermore, trust and respect outweighed conveniences like closer locations, shorter wait times and lower cost of care. Hospitals and health systems should view these consumer sentiments as an opportunity to maximize their strengths as longtime reputable caregivers while continuing to mature their consumer-oriented capabilities.
How to Generate Greater Loyalty
Build a 360-degree view of the consumer base.
Traditional providers no longer can limit their understanding of the patient to financial or clinical information. Adopting a consumer mindset requires not only knowing your population by demographic or disease-specific segmentation, but also understanding their attitudes, values and preferences toward health care. Health system leaders should be asking such questions as, “What is most important to our consumers?” and “What is the experience our consumers value?”
Lead with digital.
It should be no surprise that consumers continue to expect and welcome more digitally enabled health care services. The study revealed that 52% of consumers are interested in mobile apps for checking test results, finding physicians and scheduling appointments. They also rely more on wearables to manage their health. Thirty-five percent of respondents use a wearable device, 87% of which either share or are willing to share health-related data with their providers, presenting a significant opportunity for providers to engage with consumers in a more meaningful way.
Continue to mature virtual care capabilities.
With 72% of patients satisfied or very satisfied with their virtual care experiences during the pandemic, virtual care offerings will be a greater factor in determining consumer loyalty. In fact, the study finds that 15% more consumers in 2021 view telehealth as a primary care option than in 2019. Following the initial pandemic surge, leaders now have an opportunity to be intentional in finding the right balance of in-person and virtual care. Additionally, interest in home care grew by 6%, likely due to positive experiences patients had with alternate care settings during the pandemic, the report suggests.
Strive for a one-stop shop.
An overwhelming 74% of consumers want a single point of contact for their health care information. While this ideal state may be difficult to achieve given health care‘s complexities, the personalized experience that consumers increasingly demand across the care continuum will be enabled by providers’ willingness to invest in, integrate and educate consumers about multiple digital solutions.