Keeping a steady pulse on both consumer and provider perspectives is vital to ensuring Kyruus’ solutions meet the needs of healthcare organizations and end-users alike. Conducting market research to uncover beliefs, actions, and preferences is an important part of the equation, and in 2022, Kyruus conducted surveys with both consumer and provider audiences:
- Provider Perspectives on Digital Access shares findings from a nationwide survey of 200 providers (100 primary care physicians and 100 specialists) and includes their thoughts on access, engagement, and today’s top challenges.
- The Many Digital Doors of Patient Access and Engagement, Kyruus’ 6th annual Patient Access Journey Report, captures views from 1,000 consumers across generations and geographies to reveal how their preferences for finding, selecting, and accessing care have evolved.
Further, unlike most health IT companies, Kyruus maintains a Patient and Family Advisory Board (PFAC) that represents the voice of patients and family caregivers, and serves in an advisory capacity for strategy, product development, and all things access-related.
In its year-end meeting with PFAC members, Kyruus presented key findings from its 2022 consumer and provider research studies. A summary of the PFAC presentation, including where consumers and providers align in their thinking (and where they don’t) appears below.
Key Finding: Care Searches are Digital and Omnichannel.
Consumers and providers have gone digital in a big way—it’s where consumers search for care and where providers want to be searchable.
The internet is consumers’ top destination when seeking care—over 60% log on to look for a new provider or search for a service and/or care option (e.g., urgent care, imaging services). And many are broadening their search once online—nearly 80% of consumers used two or more online resources in their research process.
Being searchable across digital channels is important for patient acquisition, and health plan websites, search engines, and health-related third-party sites top the list of desired destinations. But providers know they can’t make this happen on their own: two-thirds say it’s extremely or very important for their healthcare organizations to be more active in online channel expansion.
Key Finding: Quality is Critical for Both Consumers and Providers.
Although they consider quality of care through different lenses, both consumers and providers say it’s critical.
Quality of care (clinical expertise, 87%; reputation, 84%), is a top criteria when selecting a provider, bested only by cost-related factors (insurance accepted, 93%; cost, 73%). Convenience (appointment availability, 84%) rounds out the top influences on how consumers select care today as well as their future care decisions.
Quality of care is also important to providers, and from their vantage, this means highlighting clinical expertise in their digital profile to promote their capabilities and differentiate themselves to consumers. Nearly 80% say a high-quality profile is extremely or very important—and of those, nearly half say accurately conveying professional experience is the most important reason to maintain a high-quality profile, followed closely by showcasing academic research, publications, and experience.
Key Finding: Digital Self-Service is Increasingly Valued.
Online scheduling is fully embraced by both consumers and providers, growing both in availability and preference.
Convenient self-scheduling is becoming a must-have for many—over 40% favor this option and about one-third cite it as a factor when considering where they will obtain care in the future. In fact, of those who prefer online booking, half would switch providers for the ability to do so—underscoring the significance of digital self-service as a decision-making factor in care selection.
Once wary, providers are now embracing self-scheduling—in fact nearly all say they are interested in this convenient capability. Further, two-thirds of providers report consumers can book appointments with them on their healthcare organizations’ websites, an increase of over 30 percentage points since 2019.
Key Finding: Workforce Shortages are Impacting Everybody.
Workforce shortages are creating challenges for providers and consumers alike; many providers say more online scheduling would help.
Consumers feel the pain of healthcare staffing shortages—about 1/5 report long hold times when calling to book care, and of those, nearly 1/3 were unsuccessful in their attempt to book care.
Staffing shortages are a top challenge today that impact providers (42%) and their staff (40%). Aside from the most obvious remedy—adding additional staff—providers who cite workforce shortages as a top challenge say more online scheduling (39%) would have the greatest impact on alleviating resource gaps.
BONUS INSIGHT: our recent LinkedIn survey aligns with providers’ views, with respondents citing more online scheduling and more virtual care appointments in equal measure (33%, respectively), and new tech tools, e.g., AI solutions (22%) as ways to address workforce shortages.