As the healthcare industry transitions from volume to value-based care and as patients become more engaged in their health, understanding what drives patient decision-making is increasingly a strategic imperative. Although the importance of patient satisfaction has received a lot of recognition, the reality is that many know very little about the aspects of care that matter most to patients. So, what do patients really want in their healthcare? Five-star services, hotel-like hospital rooms, valet, and gourmet meals? Not quite, the answer may actually surprise you.
Patient expectations have evolved rapidly over the past decade, as they have grown accustomed to personalized on-demand services such as Amazon.com, Netflix, and Uber. As a result, they are demanding personalization, transparency, and digital experiences.
Research by Deloitte Center for Health Solutions and a study reported in The Patient Experience Journal suggests that patients’ care experience is comprised of five major dimensions: 1) Personalized Participative Provider Care 2) Affordable Care Options 3) Convenience 4) Staff Interaction 5) Digital Resources
- Personalized Participative Provider Care– includes personalized care, shared decision-making, courtesy, respect, and medical explanation. According to Deloitte’s Survey of US Health Care Consumers, 3 out of 4 patients seek a partnership with their providers to determine the most effective treatment decisions. In fact, the number one preferred interaction is having the health care provider spend sufficient time with the patient without feeling rushed.
- Affordable Care Options- Consumers are seeking greater transparency and more affordable care options. According to Deloitte’s Survey of US Health Care Consumers, sixty percent of surveyed consumers reported they wanted to receive cost information, but less than ten percent reported asking about price before agreeing to treatment.
- Convenience- Patients want access when, where, and how it best suits them. Consumers are busy, and time-saving conveniences in healthcare are highly valued such as minimal to no wait times, convenient locations, and easy access for appointments.
- Staff Interaction- Staff interaction encompasses staff courtesy and staff follow up. Doctors and nurses are not the only personnel whose interactions are important to patients. The courtesy of clinic staff toward patients is a very important factor in patients’ assessment of their overall care experience.
- Digital Resources- As technological conveniences have become a staple in consumers daily lives, they are expecting the same of healthcare. If a consumer can book a flight from their cell phone, why not book a doctor’s appointment too? A large majority of patients are seeking digital support to assist in the management of their care. Consumers surveyed expressed they are seeking increased quality, integration, improved operability, and ease of use of digital resources.
Healthcare organizations and providers have an enormous amount on their plates between changes in healthcare policy, increased regulation, new digital applications, and electronic health records, all while trying to engage patients and provide value-based quality care. Although, finding this balance is not an easy process, having a stronger understanding of what matters to patients and what drives decision-making should help to provide insight in shaping future strategic initiatives.