As patients become more engaged in their own healthcare, they are also becoming more particular about the provider they choose as their primary physician. While independent practices rely on high volume to maintain their financial sustainability, they must also continue to focus on the individual needs of each patient to retain that patient in the practice. Technology such as the doctor patient communication app can help improve the patient-provider relationship. A new survey also reveals many of the patient expectations for patient engagement technology.
The recent survey revealed a number of factors that contribute to a good patient experience, from the patient’s perspective. This information is especially important for independent physicians to consider, as patients are more in charge of their own healthcare now. A few of the points found in the survey results include:
- One-third of the survey participants said they have switched providers because of an unpleasant encounter with the practice’s office staff
- Two-thirds of the participants said the staff’s friendliness is an important factor in their decision to choose a provider
- Six out of 10 survey respondents said they would be more likely to choose a practice that enables them to make an appointment online
- 48% said they prefer digital patient outreach via the doctor patient communication app rather than over the telephone
- 22% prefer communication via email
- 14% preferred text messaging
- 12% preferred to receive messages through the online patient portal.
The majority of survey respondents (61%) said that they will decide on whether to continue with their independent physician’s practice based on whether payments are made simple and easy for them. They also would pay their bill quicker if they received a text message reminder.
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Out of the 2,000 patients participating in the survey, almost three-fourths (73%) said they were likely to keep a “mental scorecard” of everything they liked and disliked about their new physician’s office. They also indicated that they would give the practice four chances, on average, before they made a decision about whether to change providers.
Additional factors regarding patient expectations include the use of modern technology that contributes to their overall experience. Patient engagement during the visit is of significant importance. Over half of the survey participants (54%) indicated that they felt their provider was more attentive when using digital technology such as electronic health records (EHRs). Just under half (46%) preferred that their physician use a tablet to review their patient history in the exam room.
Overall, patients want more control over how they engage with the physician and the practice. The use of a doctor patient communication app is one of the primary patient engagement technology solutions that will benefit patients and providers. A majority of the survey participants said that it is frustrating to call for an appointment, only to have to leave a voicemail and wait for a call back. Rather than a call, 67% of the patients said they would be more likely to use the chat feature to make an appointment or request lab results.
Even though patient engagement technology is important to meet these patient expectations, the survey confirmed that human interaction remains an important factor in the patient-provider relationship. When deciding to remain with the same provider, 67% of the patients in the survey said they believed that how personable and engaged the physician is, as well as how friendly the staff acts toward the patient, are very important issues for them.