Patient or user experience has never been more important in the healthcare industry than now.
A PricewaterhouseCoopers report found that customer experience and not price is the overriding factor when it comes to choosing a healthcare provider. In fact, only 8 percent rated price as the No. 1 purchase driver in healthcare decision-making, compared with 69 percent in the airlines/leisure industry and 55 percent in retail.
The survey of 6,000 consumers across several industries form the basis of a new report from PricewaterhouseCoopers, which found that the “consumerism movement gained traction as individuals were asked to spend more of their own money on services and products such as insurance premiums, deductibles and co-payments.”
The report talks about four factors that are shaping the customer experience in healthcare.
- As patients pay more for healthcare, they are demanding the same type of customer experience they derive from other industries.
- As the government and others have pushed for value, organizations are trying to compete more for members and that had led to prioritizing quality, transparency and managing costs all.
- Telemedicine, mobile health, social media and retail clinics have led to an increasing appetite for on-demand healthcare.
- Greater access to information and the desire for it is also fundamentally altering how information flow occurs in the industry and prompting a review of it.
At the same time that customer experience is being colored by these factors, healthcare stakeholders need to realize that when it comes to healthcare, consumers may not be as willing to share their positive experiences.
A PricewaterhouseCoopers report from 2011 found that only 44 percent of consumers actually share their positive experience in the health insurance industry, 54 percent in the health provider industry compared with 70 percent sharing good experiences in retail and 64 percent in the hotel industry.
While they may not be as willing to share their good experiences, personal experiences still count the most when choosing a provider or a hospital. The PricewaterhouseCoopers report found that 42 percent reported that personal experience counted the most when selecting a doctor or hospital compared with 21 percent who felt that personal influence had the biggest impact on their choice in the retail sector.
All of which means that this is the “moment of truth” in the healthcare industry when it came to understanding and enhancing the healthcare experience. Some specific recommendations from the report include:
- open up forums for customer feedback;
- give employees the freedom and train customer-facing employees well so that they can have the power to change the customer experience;
- and focus on developing solutions that increase transparency, knowledge and convenience for customers.