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Get Ready for Shift from Patient to Healthcare Consumer

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, August 27, 2012

A report released this summer by the Health Research Institute of PwC US provides some insights into the mind of the healthcare consumer. Based on a survey of 6,000 people, the report found that consumer expectations in healthcare follow other industries. For example:

  • Provider staff attitude was the main contributor to positive experiences by 70% of consumers, compared to 38% of retail shoppers and 33% of bank, and airline customers.
  • Price was the top driver of purchasing decisions for consumers in every industry except healthcare. Personal experience is the top reason for choosing a doctor or hospital, and it's more than 2.5 times more important than to consumers in other industries.
  • When asked about the conveniences and services they value from providers, 69% said they want facilities that offer multiple services in one location; 65% want to exchange information through online and mobile channels; 57% place a high value on patient education during a visit; and 53% value the cafeteria and access to Wi-Fi and other entertainment.
  • Choice of physicians and quick claims payment topped consumers' demands from insurers.   
  • Only 44% of insurance consumers and 54% of provider consumers tell anyone within a month of having a positive experience compared to 70% of retail and 66% of banking customers.
  • Six of 10 negative consumer experiences are more likely to be remembered for longer in the provider industry compared to other industries.

PwC principal Paul D'Alessandro says the survey shows that healthcare consumers are becoming more aware of their care options and more willing to exercise their choices. In short, they are acting more like consumers and less like patients.  

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