Consumer experience is top priority for 69 percent of US hospitals: survey

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Almost 70 percent of providers
list improving consumer satisfaction
among their top priorities,
says a new survey

Consumer experience is top priority for 69 percent of US hospitals: survey

by John R. Fischer , Staff Reporter
Improving consumer experience is top or second among the priorities of 69 percent of healthcare C-suite executives, according to a survey conducted by research firm Sage Growth Partners.

Commissioned by healthcare experience and patient navigation enterprise, Docent Health, the survey examines strategies implemented by hospitals across the country to improve such experiences, a task which is becoming essential due to changes in how healthcare services are managed and paid for, says Stephanie Kovalick, chief strategy officer for Sage Growth Partners.

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“Consumers are starting to feel a higher burden of paying for services themselves,” she told HCB News. “Healthcare consumers have anywhere from $2500-$10,000, and sometimes even more in deductibles, so they’re paying for so much care out-of-pocket. As you start to spend your own money, you’re much more careful about the choices you make in how to spend that money. We’re seeing healthcare consumers a lot more discerning in where they’re going to receive care and how they make decisions for follow-up care based on the experience they had the first time.”

The surveyors spoke to 100 healthcare C-suite executives from different hospitals across the country in the first quarter of 2019, with 64 percent from highly competitive markets, 33 percent in moderate ones, and three percent in noncompetitive environments. Of the respondents, those in highly competitive markets were more likely to view improving consumer experiences as a top priority, at a rate of 55 percent. Only two percent of these providers did not consider it among their top four priorities.

Improving patient satisfaction is
a top priority, mainly among hospitals
in highly-competitive markets.

To facilitate this improvement, 93 percent of respondents rely on telephone calls, 90 percent rely on EHRs, and 83 percent on patient portals. Only 35 percent use a centralized customer relationship management platform, and only 39 percent rely on text messaging.

More than half, however, use patient navigation programs, with 67 percent experiencing improved quality outcomes and improved patient engagement, while 65 percent report a higher number of patients sticking to care plans, and 54 percent seeing improved patient retention. Those that do use these programs outnumber those that listed improving consumer experience as a top priority.
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