The more digital healthcare takes hold, the more some consumers will switch providers if they find dealing with their doctor, hospital or other organization online is in anyway less than satisfactory, according to a new study.

Consumers get frustrated when they get the runaround or not enough answers back from healthcare payers and providers on their most pressing questions.

But the more digital healthcare takes hold, the more some consumers will switch providers if they find dealing with their doctor, hospital or other organization online is in anyway less than satisfactory, says a new survey of 1,600 consumers from healthcare engagement technology provider Cedar Cares Inc.

Similar to the scenarios that have played out in other industries like ecommerce, healthcare providers are now being judged by the digital experience they provide their patients.

The survey finds that 41% of consumers would stop going to their healthcare provider over a poor digital experience for paying bills online, using poorly constructed digital appointment and related forms, or slow delivery of electronic information.

Compared with Baby Boomers at 6%, younger consumers 18-24 are four times more likely to switch providers over a poor digital experience.

The survey also reveals that digital experiences can be a big reason why consumers write negative online reviews of providers, with those reviews being highly influential. For example, about one in five consumers have given a negative review of a provider because of a poor digital experience and 52% consult online review sites when choosing a provider, with 44% of these people citing the reviews a top influencing factor in their decision.

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Other survey findings include:

  • More than one-third (34%) of U.S. healthcare consumers have had a healthcare bill go to collections, with 44% of consumers aged 8-44 nearly twice as likely to have a healthcare bill go to collections compared with 26% of consumers 45 and older.
  • Getting expected out-of-pocket cost information also is a noted pain point. Approximately 60% of consumers have tried to get out-of-pocket costs from providers ahead of care, but 51% didn’t get it easily or accurately.
  • 49% of healthcare consumers expressed frustration about their provider’s lack of adoption of digital administrative processes for online bill pay, access to insurance information and related services.
  • Three quarters of consumers still get their provider’s bill delivered by mail, compared with 55% through an online patient portal, 34% by email and 15% by text message.
  • When asked to rank how healthcare stacked up digitally for ease of use compared with other consumer businesses, healthcare ranked fourth behind retailing, banking and travel but ahead of insurance.

“Similar to the scenarios that have played out in other industries like ecommerce, healthcare providers are now being judged by the digital experience they provide their patients,” says Cedar CEO Florian Otto.  “While technology has rapidly innovated how we treat patients on the clinical side, administrative processes have yet to catch up. Modern consumers—armed with new levels of data, treatment options and heightened expectations—now demand more and the industry must rise to the challenge.”

 

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