How to Reconsider Health Care Engagement in 2022
There is nothing more personal than health, and consumers today expect their health experiences to be even better than retail, insurance or banking. Far too often, when we visit retail, insurance or banking sites, they navigate us through a personalized experience or offer products and services that are relevant to their use. However, my digital patient experience is chaotic, disconnected, and often so impersonal. Consumers want the interaction with their care team to go smoothly through their preferred communication methods.
The rate of change in the healthcare industry has accelerated in recent years. And for health organizations across the board – from medical offices to health insurers to pharmaceutical and pharmaceutical companies – staying one step ahead of this change is critical to build engagement and deliver exceptional consumer experiences. So it is time to reconsider engagement in healthcare. While the healthcare industry has made strides in delivering connected experiences during the turbulent year and a half of the pandemic, the reality is that consumers still bear the brunt of navigating a very complex and often disjointed healthcare ecosystem.
Data shows that patient loyalty has increased despite the need for greater engagement
According to the Pegas Healthcare Engagement Survey 2021, more than 2,000 patients and 200 healthcare executives from health insurance, healthcare systems and pharmaceutical companies indicate a dramatic narrowing, but still an alarming discrepancy between patient perceptions of engagement and the industry that delivers it it. Patients are much more tolerant during the pandemic as healthcare challenges persist. Most noticeably, the number of patients who reported switching physicians due to poor communication and engagement has declined 23% year over year (from 86% to 63%) despite ongoing issues that continue to plague the healthcare industry . This is a significant decrease, but it is temporary due to the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the Covid-19 variants.
With many still feeling the effects of the pandemic, patients are less inclined to find a new healthcare provider. But this is a temporary effect and health organizations are aware of it. Positive communication goes a long way towards creating loyalty among your patients and making them feel valued. You want more communication. The results indicated several improvements in consumer collaborative engagement by their doctors and insurers: 50% of consumers agree that their doctor and health insurance company are in sync and tightly linked, up from just 27% last year . In addition, consumers find that health insurers are better able to plan costs: 51% state that their insurer can inform them of the costs before a procedure, compared to 16% in the previous year.
But will these positive feelings extend beyond the pandemic? Overall, the healthcare system is frustrating consumers: 55% say it remains difficult to navigate, compared to 61% last year. So if vendors and payers hope to build on their newfound customer goodwill, the survey suggests two areas of focus to deliver a more personalized care experience:
Bridge the gap in patient communication
Many care organizations (76%) believe they make it easy for patients to get in touch with them. However, just over half (54%) of consumers say they are satisfied with the level of communication in their doctor’s office. And when health organizations communicate, the information provided can be confusing: almost half (48%) of consumers say they receive conflicting information from insurers – almost 20% more than last year. Companies need to fill this perception gap in order to cement patient trust and loyalty.
Accelerate the adoption of advanced technology
Consumers are starting to be more willing to allow payers and providers to use more technology if it means an improvement in their health outcomes. For example, 53% of consumers say they are willing to give insurers access to their real-time health data – up 13% from last year. Additionally, 49% are comfortable with their doctors using AI to make better treatment decisions. As customer convenience increases with these approaches, health organizations have the opportunity to introduce new proactive ways to connect with health consumers.
Although consumers are showing more loyalty to their doctors and payers than they were before the pandemic, providers are not as convinced: 77% believe that patients would switch providers due to poor communication – a full 103% increase over the previous year. The vast majority are exploring new technologies to better connect with their patients and help them stay proactive with care. In the post-pandemic world, care teams – from providers to insurers – need to increase personalization and reduce complexity to empower consumers to be more committed to their health and achieve better patient outcomes. It has been said that healthcare will develop more rapidly in the next ten years than in the previous 100 years.
As a result, most health organizations have innovation as a critical policy component. This accelerated view of technology is improving the way healthcare organizations can serve their customers and personalize care to improve overall health. Healthcare is all about the connection: connecting consumers to the right care and connecting information from the provider to the payer to the patient / member. And after Covid-19, it is now more necessary than ever. All of these connections lead to personal engagement, which is why it is so important to provide personalized, prioritized, and preventive healthcare. Personalized experiences empower consumers, simplify healthcare, and deliver better outcomes.