25 Oct, 2017

What Do Consumers Want When They Interact With the Healthcare System?

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Healthcare surrounds the patient, so it makes sense that providers are seeking answers about what they prefer when they interact with the healthcare industry.

It is important for physicians to be up to date when it comes to consumer trends in this sector, in order to deliver the most optimized and effective patient experience. The patient journey tends to be complex and deals with many factors, considering we are all different, with a mixed amount of priorities, weaknesses, and preferences.

As the consumer continues to grow and change, the healthcare industry must adapt, and grow as well.

“But as the healthcare industry continues to shift from volume to value, and as consumers take a more active role in managing their health care, the need to understand what matters most to them grows,” Deloitte reports.

So, what do consumers want when they interact with the healthcare system? The answer is complicated and involves different elements of healthcare. Since we are so different, we all may answer this question differently. To narrow it down, it is important to understand some key components that customers pay attention to.

Oliver Wyman conducted a report that revealed survey answers from 2,016 US consumers to find what the needs of the US healthcare consumers are. These findings will be relevant and useful for “policymakers, industry leaders, and the general public.” 

“Our research provides a nuanced view into the concerns and the needs of US healthcare consumers. Health consumers’ experiences, expectations, and concerns are as diverse as the country itself, and the survey data reveal a wide variation in what forms of healthcare consumers value and prioritize.” Olver Wyman reports.

What Services Will Consumers Pay For?

When it comes to services, consumers reported that they are willing to pay for same day appointments, guaranteed appointments with a specialist, home visits, or retail clinics. The report concluded that the healthcare consumer wants to pay for services when it is convenient and fits into their lives.

The report focused heavily on the different generation gaps that are found through the healthcare consumer landscape. The breakdown of consumer preferences can be broken down by baby boomers, Gen Z, Gen Y, Millennials and the silent generation.

Baby boomers are more interested in home visits, instead of specialist options. Millennials will pay for specialists more than this generation, as well as same day appointments.

Exploring generation differences can put providers in the healthcare industry in a position to understand what kind of customers are interested in specific services.

Biggest Healthcare Concerns

According to the results of the survey, respondents biggest healthcare concerns have to do with cost issues. The main concerns deal with insurance premiums, medical costs, and prescription drugs rising.

The other issues involved restricted networks, differentiating high-quality care compared to low-quality care, not having insurance plans available and lack of access to care.

“For all consumer segments, cost leads the list of healthcare concerns.” 

These concerns were categorized depending on generation as well.

“All generations are concerned with cost, as manifested through rising insurance premiums, out-of-pocket costs, and prescription drug prices. But exploring those cost concerns by consumer segment reveals a more nuanced picture. For example, more than half of the boomer-and-older group say rising insurance premiums is their top healthcare concern, while 36 percent of millennials cite it as a top concern.” The report suggests.

All in all, patients are diverse and complex, requiring different needs and focusing on different priorities. In order to please every patient, the road you follow will be everything but straight. It will have to curve in order to meet the variety of consumers involved in the sector. Finding out the core of the patient’s expectations, like cost and concerns is where you can start.

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