You want to provide the highest possible quality care for your patients. Especially with reimbursements focusing on outcomes. However, you only get the chance to do that if you can convince patients to come to your practice and to place their trust in you. So what is it that patients want in a provider?
Although patients do care about the quality of care you provide, a Deloitte survey found that their top concerns are the cost of care and the convenience of receiving care. Half of consumers said that whether a physician was in-network was a top consideration and almost half (46%) said that a practice's physical location being convenient was a top consideration when choosing a provider. Although cost was the most important factor for choosing a provider, the majority of remaining factors relate to convenience.
Only 10% of consumers listed “high-quality rankings” as one of their top considerations when choosing a provider.
The quality of care you provide does matter. But if consumers care foremost about cost and convenience, how do you get them in the door?
When it comes to addressing cost, be sure to consider which insurers you have contracted with. Are you "in-network" for the major insurers in your region? If not, patients may be dismissing your practice as an option before they learn anything else about you.
BCG found that as high-deductible health plans have become more popular, consumers now consider things like premiums, deductibles, and out-of-pocket costs to be some of the most important factors when choosing a provider. Deductibles and out-of-pocket costs can differ greatly for the consumer depending on whether a provider is in-network or out-of-network.
Do you offer evening and weekend appointments? If not, patients may favor urgent care centers that do. Many patients find evening and weekend appointments convenient because they do not have to take time off from work or take their kids out of school. A study conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Harvard) found that 46% of patients who sought out other care did so because they needed care at night or on a weekend and their primary doctor's office was closed.
Keeping the office open 24/7 isn't always efficient or cost-effective. However, telehealth can provide you with an alternate method to see patients during the evenings and weekends.
How long do patients have to wait for an appointment? Do you have any same-day appointments available? RWJF and Harvard found that if patients have symptoms or illnesses that need to be treated immediately, but you can't fit them in until next week, they may start to look elsewhere for care. If new patients have to wait a long time to get an appointment with you, it's likely they will keep looking until they can find a physician who can see them immediately.
Online appointment schedulers can fill this need, as well. As patients need to reschedule their appointments at the last minute, others searching for immediate openings can easily find them. Not only is this good for your patients, but it helps ensure your day is filled with revenue-producing appointments.
You want what's best for your patients, that's why you chose to work in health care. But what's best for them is not limited to the high quality of care you provide. All of your patients' needs must be addressed, and that includes their concerns about cost and convenience.
« Back to All Industry Insights