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Analysis

Patients Want Digital Access Across the Care Continuum

By Alexandra Wilson Pecci  
   November 12, 2020

That's not only true for preferences you'd expect from consumers during a pandemic, like telehealth, but also for direct revenue cycle functions like patient access.

Digital access is the name of the game when it comes to consumer healthcare preferences, according to new research from DocASAP.

That's not only true for preferences you'd expect from consumers during a pandemic, like telehealth, but also for direct revenue cycle functions like patient access, finds the "State of Patient Access and Engagement" 2020 survey.

For instance, when asked "how you prefer to schedule an appointment with a healthcare provider," most respondents (48%) cited scheduling online compared to over the phone (39%) and in-person (10%).

In addition, 74% of respondents said that scheduling a healthcare appointment outside of business hours is important. This number was highest among African American respondents (91%).

Patients also crave digital tools for pre-appointment and post-appointment communications.

 When asked, "what is your preferred method for receiving an appointment reminder for a scheduled healthcare visit," the majority of respondents (56%) selected digital methods (i.e. email or text message), an increase of 4% compared to last year.

Of the two methods, patients across all ethnicity groups preferred text messages for receiving an appointment reminder.

Similarly, 64% of patients also cited digital methods like email, text message, online portal, or mobile app as the preferred method for receiving post-appointment communication from a healthcare provider. That's up 6% compared to last year's survey.

Other revenue cycle-relevant findings include:

  • 62% of respondents missed a scheduled healthcare appointment over the last 12 months, citing various reasons, including COVID-19 (27%)
     
  • Missed appointments increased 9% compared to last year's survey findings 
     
  • Missed appointments varied widely across ethnicity groups, affecting Hispanics the most (85%), followed by African Americans (74%), whites (57%), and Asians (44%)
     
  • The most important issue for respondents was "not losing healthcare coverage" (cited by 40%), followed by "reducing healthcare costs" (35%) and "pre-existing condition protection" (35%)
     
  • When asked about specific care settings, 44% would prefer to receive care both in-person and via telehealth post-pandemic

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.


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