- There is a disconnect between where providers focus their efforts and the steps patients indicate would increase satisfaction, especially shorter wait times (50%), advance knowledge of treatment costs (49%) and not feeling rushed during their appointments (47%).
- Too many patients are unhappy with their care – a problem that can be solved through improved patient engagement. In fact, close to 1 in 5 patients is not convinced their provider is focused on improving their health, and more than 1 in 4 patients does not believe their provider cares about them as an individual.
- Nearly two-thirds (66%) of consumers believe U.S. healthcare does not effectively help those with chronic illnesses manage their conditions, and 66 percent of Americans with a chronic disease would be willing to pay roughly $10 a month for between-visit support.”
- When patients are not completely satisfied with their healthcare provider, 74 percent of them put off seeing their providers.
- Patients feel they have options when choosing healthcare services, and 88 percent of them confirm they would switch providers if dissatisfied.
- A total of 81 percent of providers agree that patients will switch providers when dissatisfied, and 94 percent of providers say patients are shopping around more today than in the past for healthcare services.
MOBILE, Ala., June 19, 2017 — The majority of Americans are apt to switch healthcare providers when they aren’t completely satisfied, indicates a new study released today by West, a leading provider of technology-enabled patient engagement communications, including the well-known TeleVox Solutions. Additionally, the study uncovers a significant disconnect between providers and patients regarding the drivers of positive patient experiences and overall loyalty trends.
“Too many patients are unhappy,” said Allison Hart, West’s chief healthcare market research and insights strategist. “Patients don’t have a strong sense their providers care about them as individuals, and they aren’t convinced their healthcare teams are focused on improving their health.”
The study titled, “Prioritizing The Patient Experience,” revealed that patients will take action when dissatisfied with their healthcare providers. Ninety-one percent of Americans are likely to investigate other options if they are not completely satisfied with their current healthcare provider. Close to nine in 10 people (88%) across the nation will switch providers if they are not completely satisfied, and 74 percent of Americans admit that when dissatisfied, they will put off scheduling appointments to visit their doctor.
Healthcare providers are feeling the pinch. The majority (94%) of providers say patients are shopping around more today than in the past for healthcare services. “Consumers’ interactions with other businesses and service industries have taught them to have high expectations for their providers and a low tolerance for poor service,” said Hart.
“More than three in four patients (78%) realize they have the freedom to choose their healthcare providers and, as value-conscious consumers, they won’t settle for healthcare providers that don’t meet their expectations,” she continued. “The reality is that, today, those expectations go beyond writing a prescription for medication and doling out advice for adopting a healthier lifestyle. Patients expect more from their providers and they are determined to get it.”
The study revealed that half (50%) of all healthcare consumers feel shorter wait times would make them feel more satisfied, and 49 percent of Americans say knowing the cost of treatment in advance of being seen by a doctor is important for improving satisfaction. Additionally, nearly half (47%) of Americans say not feeling rushed during appointments is key to an overall positive healthcare experience.
Patients also want to feel confident in the abilities of those caring for their health. Nearly half (44%) of patients say demonstrating a high-level of expertise in treating their specific illness would improve satisfaction.
Improved patient-provider communication also is important for enhancing the patient experience. Nearly four in ten patients (39%) say better communication improves satisfaction, and 25 percent of Americans say regular check-ins between appointments would improve their overall healthcare experience.
“Unfortunately, there is a disconnect between what patients want most and where providers are focusing their efforts,” said Hart. “For example, healthcare teams are missing the mark by not prioritizing efforts to communicate the out-of-pocket costs for services. This is something that nearly half (49%) of patients say is essential to improving patient satisfaction, yet it is ranked nearly last by providers as a priority.”
“Only one-third (33%) of providers say making sure patients know how much it will cost them out-of-pocket, prior to receiving treatment, is something they are working toward,” she continued. “Understanding patient satisfaction drivers and making sure provider priorities are aligned is critical. But, addressing those patient priorities is where providers need to bring their ‘A’ game.”
“This eye-opening research enables West to counsel our extensive list of healthcare clients on how to better align their patient experience priorities with current patient expectations,” Hart said. “Considering the financial welfare of every healthcare organization is intrinsically tied to patient satisfaction, it’s more important than ever for providers to improve patient experiences in the ways that matter most to patients – and the technology they already have in place – their appointment reminder technology – can help them do that.”
About The West Corporation Insights & Impact Study: Prioritizing The Patient Experience
Prioritizing The Patient Experience is based on an online survey to 1,010 nationally representative Americans ages 18 and over. The survey was conducted between March 1 and March 8, 2017 by Kelton Global using an email invitation and an online survey format. Quotas were set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population ages 18 and over. Results of any sample are subject to sampling variation. The magnitude of the variation is measurable and is affected by the number of interviews and the level of the percentages expressing the results. In this particular study, the chances are 95 in 100 that a survey result does not vary, plus or minus, by more than 3.1 percentage points from the result that would be obtained if interviews had been conducted with all persons in the universe represented by the sample.
In addition to surveying consumers, West conducted a survey of more than 236 healthcare providers representing a variety of specialties and disciplines. The research was completed using an email invitation and an online survey format.
West’s Engagement Center Solutions help healthcare organizations effectively activate and engage patients and members, beyond the clinical setting, as they traverse the healthcare system. By providing innovative technology and creating strategic communications at key points across the care continuum, West’s Engagement Center enables healthcare providers to reduce costs, maximize revenue, improve quality and optimize the patient experience.
West Corporation is a global provider of communication and network infrastructure services. West helps its clients more effectively communicate, collaborate and connect with their audiences through a diverse portfolio of solutions that include unified communications services, safety services, interactive services, such as automated notifications, telecom services and specialized agent services. For 30 years, West has provided reliable, high-quality voice and data services. West has sales and operations in the United States, Canada, Europe, the Middle East, Asia Pacific and Latin America.