The new KLAS report summarizes a patient survey that illustrates how technology can help meet consumers’ desire to be more empowered in their care.
The pandemic has further highlighted the need to better listen to patients and learn from their perspective. By doing so, providers and suppliers can ensure that the technology used in healthcare reflects the needs and wants of patients. Unfortunately, patients are still often absent from conversations about health informatics.
KLAS recently partnered with patient intake provider Phreesia to survey 13,000 patients across the United States to learn more about what they want and need from patient engagement technology. patients. A new report, Patient Perspectives on Patient Engagement Technology 2022, summarizes the findings of this research. The report provides data breakdowns that can be used to help identify where to invest money to achieve the greatest impact.
A look at what patients appreciate
The research sheds light on the top reasons patients choose their doctors, as shown in the table below. Of course, there are things organizations can change and things they can’t. They probably can’t change the location of their facilities or their availability — short of hiring more doctors. But outside of these two main drivers, there is a huge opportunity to create a great experience with digital tools.
One example is price transparency, which has been regulated since the start of 2021. Organizations are required to be able to tell patients what they will pay for certain procedures. And technology plays an important role in providing this information.
The survey results show that patients want to be more independent in their care. The things patients want to accomplish with technology aren’t rocket science. Many other industries have already figured out how to arrange stand-alone appointments and pay bills online, for example. Healthcare presents unique challenges, especially for specialties, but the industry can still learn from what other sectors are already doing.
Voices for telehealth
Healthcare saw a huge increase in the use of telehealth at the height of the pandemic. But then the use of telehealth began to decline dramatically. Organizations are now trying to find out if the government will continue to reimburse them for telehealth visits. Some wonder if they should even continue to offer telehealth.
But the survey results illustrate why organizations should find a way to offer telehealth services whether or not the 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 are likely to maintain or increase their volume of virtual visits. Of those who haven’t had a virtual visit, many say they will likely try telehealth eventually. All indicators show that most patients still want to be able to access care virtually.
Why the patient perspective is important
Despite the growing challenges facing healthcare providers today, they need to focus on implementing the technologies that patients want. After all, better patient satisfaction leads to better HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) survey scores. These scores, in turn, affect reimbursement rates.
Organizations that figure out how to digitally engage with their patients will retain their patients. Consumers will increasingly choose providers that create the desired experience (within the limits of what insurance plans will cover). And convenience is a big factor. Can I schedule my appointment online? Do I need to complete another form after I have already provided the information over the phone? Factors like these drive satisfaction.
If a healthcare provider organization can engage patients through technology in a way that impacts their behaviors, it could potentially lower the cost of care. It makes sense, for example, to expand the use of 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.