The new KLAS report summarizes a patient survey that illustrates how technology can help meet consumers’ desire for more empowerment in their care.
The pandemic further highlighted the need to better listen to patients and learn from their perspective. In this way, providers and providers alike can ensure that the technology used in healthcare reflects the needs and desires of patients. Unfortunately, patients are still often absent from discussions about IT in healthcare.
KLAS recently partnered with Phreesia, the provider of patient admissions, to survey 13,000 patients across the US to learn more about what they want and need from patient engagement technology. A new report, Patient Perspectives on Patient Engagement Technology 2022, summarizes the findings of this research. The report provides breakdowns of the data that can be used to identify where to invest money to have the greatest impact.
A look at what patients value
The study highlights the top reasons why patients choose their doctor, as shown in the table below. Obviously there are things organizations can change and things they cannot. They probably can’t change the location of their facilities or their availability – other than hiring more doctors. But apart from these two main drivers, there is a great opportunity to create a great experience with digital tools.
One example is price transparency, which has been in place since early 2021. Organizations need to be able to tell patients what they will pay for a particular procedure. And technology plays an important role in delivering that information.
The survey results show that patients would like to take on more personal responsibility in their care. The things that patients want to achieve with technology are not rocket science. Many other industries have already figured out how to make appointments themselves and pay bills online, for example. There are unique challenges in healthcare, particularly for specialties, but the industry can still learn from what other sectors are already doing.
Voices for telemedicine
Healthcare saw a huge increase in the use of telemedicine during the peak of the pandemic. But then the use of telemedicine started to decline drastically. Organizations are now trying to find out if the government will continue to reimburse them for telemedicine visits. Some question whether they need to continue offering telemedicine at all.
However, the survey results show why organizations should find a way to offer telemedicine services, regardless of whether reimbursement is the same. The study shows that about half of the patients had participated in virtual visits in the past year. And most of these patients will likely maintain or increase their volume of virtual visits. Of those who haven’t had a virtual visit, many say they will likely try telemedicine at some point. All indicators show that most patients still want access to virtual care.
Why patient perspectives matter
Despite the increasing challenges healthcare providers are currently facing, they must focus on implementing the technologies that patients want. Finally, higher patient satisfaction leads to better HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey results. These results, in turn, affect reimbursement rates.
Organizations that figure out how to digitally engage with their patients will keep their patients. Consumers are increasingly choosing providers that create the experience they want (within the limits of what insurance plans cover). And convenience is a key factor. Can I make my appointment online? Do I need to fill out another form after I have already provided the information over the phone? Factors like these promote happiness.
If a healthcare provider organization can engage patients through technology in ways that affect their behavior, it could potentially reduce the cost of care. For example, it makes sense to expand remote patient monitoring so that patients can be discharged from the hospital more quickly to recover in the comfort of their own homes.
Dan Czech and Adam Cherrington are analysts at KLAS Research.