How loyal are your patients? That depends on who you ask. According to a consumer study from Accenture, patients nationwide are as likely to switch doctors as they are hotels or airlines if they do not receive the service and experience they expect.
Additional findings from the study include:
- 61% of patients are willing to change providers to get an appointment more quickly
- 52% of patients would change providers to get an appointment in a more convenient location
- 47% of patients would switch for a stronger understanding of care costs
- 50% of patients are willing to pay more for weekend or after-hours appointments, or to have more personal time with their clinician
While many providers and healthcare organizations assume that if they offer excellent quality of care, patient loyalty will follow. This may not always be the case. Times have changed, and a large majority of consumers expect convenience, quick access, and prompt responsiveness from all of their business interactions whether banking, travel, retail, or healthcare.
Two additional findings from the research that were important to note, include:
- Patients want responsiveness and convenience – As patients are paying more out of their pocket for healthcare services due to higher deductibles, they are expecting more for their money. Healthcare providers and organizations that are able to offer patients value in terms of convenience and a superior experience will ultimately be most successful in gaining patients loyalty. In today’s digital age this can mean simply making it easy for consumers to schedule their appointments through online scheduling, and online bill pay. Providing more information regarding the cost of care has become increasingly important.
- Patients will pay more for services they value – More than half of the healthcare consumers surveyed, said they would pay more for experiences they considered valuable such as weekend or after-hours appointments, or additional time spent with the doctor. Others expressed an interest in paying more to see a provider virtually and paying more to be notified for a follow-up visit.
Those who are able to offer patients quick access, convenience, cost of care transparency, and personalized quality of care will be best positioned for success in this highly competitive ever-changing marketplace. Providing a better patient experience will not only help increase patient loyalty it also benefits a practice financially. Most importantly these providers and healthcare facilities will build long-lasting relationships with patients, which is the foundation of every medical practices success.
Jerry Stone is the co-founder of MedicalGPS, which provides real-time patient experience tools that help foster patient loyalty and reduce medical malpractice risks.