Consumers have come to expect conveniences, such as the ability to schedule appointments online, book a reservation for a hotel instantly or catch a ride to work at the touch of a button. This expectation has seeped into the healthcare industry. Consumers are taking decision making into their own hands. And important decisions are one click, swipe, or tap away.
Similar to other industries, healthcare consumers evaluate their choices for care, often make decisions based on how convenient the process is and how accessible providers are to them. Other things being equal, why would a consumer wait a few weeks to see a physician, when a similar provider nearby offers the ability to book a same-day-appointment?
There is a growing demand among consumers for healthcare providers and hospitals to provide access for patients like never before. Healthgrades partners with hospitals and health systems across the country to increase patient access and integrate technology solutions that put consumers in the driver seat. Recently, Healthgrades hosted a webinar for health systems diving further into this very concept. According to recent research, the majority of consumers would prefer a physician with online scheduling and lesser availability, compared to a physician without online scheduling and greater availability (82% vs. 18%).
Increasingly healthcare consumers expect access and convenience. It behooves hospitals and health systems to invest in reaching these consumers wherever they are.
And wherever they are means that hospitals are broadly evaluating how, when and why consumers select certain providers for care. The reality today is that consumers get information that influences decisions from a variety of sources, and then look for convenience and accessibility to validate and take action on their decisions. For hospitals to gain an edge in today’s environment, they must:
Be visible and discoverable on sites where consumers search for providers.
Offer the ability to search a provider’s availability and then book an appointment online.
Provide options to meet with patients outside of the office—using telehealth capabilities and email and texting functionality; and
Interact with consumers elegantly on a multitude of devices, from their mobile phone to Amazon Alexa.
Hospitals that develop and align with industry partners to implement these solutions that put the consumer in the driver’s seat will set themselves apart and develop a loyal patient base.