Throughout the year we have posted blogs from subject matter experts sharing their expertise in patient experience and access. A common theme of our 2017 top viewed blog posts is understanding the patient journey of care. As the posts suggest, health systems must adapt to the evolving way in which patients are now obtaining information about their care and the providers they are choosing to receive that care from. Patients are behaving increasingly like consumers of healthcare and as such, health systems must adjust their strategies to align with this shift.
Take a look back at our top five blogs from 2017 to see what health systems were most interested in this year:
- Patient experience is quickly becoming a top priority for health systems across the country. For many patients, the experience begins with a phone call to schedule an appointment. While demand for online booking options is increasing, many patients still prefer call centers as their primary point of entry to health systems.
- Average new patient appointment wait times have increased by 30% across the US since 2014, and at the same time, provider schedules often go underutilized. Accounting for this apparent contradiction, known as the “patient access paradox,” has led many health systems to explore different approaches to patient access with dual goals of increasing provider schedule density and improving the patient experience.
- Historically, healthcare providers have relied heavily on word of mouth to attract new patients. While word of mouth still plays a role, study after study has shown that healthcare consumers are spending more time online–from online scheduling to health data tracking on mobile apps. Even when they do consult family members or receive a referral, many still go online to perform due diligence, so it’s critical for health systems to differentiate themselves online.
- Healthcare consumers are becoming savvy shoppers. Our research from the summer of 2017 shows that while many consumers still prefer traditional methods for finding providers (such as referrals from healthcare providers), most are performing some level of due diligence before booking appointments—and they're going online to do their research. Learn more about how consumers access healthcare providers in the 2017 Patient Access Journey Report.
- 64%. That’s the share of patients Accenture says will use self-scheduling online by 2019. This underscores the critical role your find-a-doc site plays in attracting online consumers and converting their demand to booked appointments. Despite health systems nationwide prioritizing patient experience and patient access, many are still falling short in being able to match patients with the right providers through their provider finder sites.
As these most popular posts reveal, while consumers are still using traditional methods to book appointments—calling into access centers or receiving referrals from other providers—they are also spending significant time online researching providers before they book an appointment. This is a key reason why it's so important to create a seamless patient experience at every point of entry into the health system – whether that be through a health system’s website, a call into the access center, or an in-office referral from another provider.
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