I ran across an article published last year by Harris Interactive titled, “Patient Choice an Increasingly Important Factor in the Age of the “Healthcare Consumer”.” http://goo.gl/VcpP9
It’s a great article to points to the reality that faces us all as we march through healthcare reform and paradigm shifts in the ways we deliver and receive our healthcare. The article describes the findings from a Harris Poll conducted within the United States between July 16 and 23, 2012 among 2,311 adults (aged 18 and over).
The article finds that most people are happy with their last healthcare visit and rate their providers with positive grades. Their are challenges, among them the doctor’s overall knowledge, the doctor’s knowledge of them personally, and the amount of time the provider spends with the patient.
Medical visit satisfaction appears to rise with both age and education: very satisfied ratings range from 35% among Echo Boomers (ages 18-35) to 56% among Matures (ages 67+), and from 44% among those with a high school education or less to 52% among those with post graduate education.
People are comfortable with receiving healthcare services at a retail clinic, such as a Walgreen’s, for relatively low-level services such as a flu shot but wouldn’t prefer going to one for chronic conditions.
One of the findings I’m most interested in is the relationship between the use of online access tools and customer satisfaction. Less than 1 in 5 have access to parts of their record online (doctor visits, prescriptions, test results and history). The service which is currently most widely available (online access to medical records) is available to just 17% of patients. And that’s greatly outweighed by the percentage who don’t have the service available but consider it very important (32%) or important (33%). Higher availability to this access would lead to higher customer satisfaction. Business investment in this area will return higher returns as more and more people use (and expect) these tools.
As Harris says, “Physicians should be concerned by the disparity between a strong consumer desire for online services and low availability of them at present.”