Healthcare News & Insights

Study: Pay attention to consumers’ personal experiences

Do you know what people say is their no. 1 reason for choosing a hospital?

It’s personal experience, according to a report by the Health Research Institute (HRI) of PwC. And it’s more than two and a half times more important to consumers in the healthcare industry than in any other industry.

So what does this mean to hospital executives?

It’s more important than ever for your hospital and its employees to give patients positive experiences.

No longer is it the game in healthcare that people who live locally will automatically come to your facility when they need a procedure or they get sick. Your hospital is now in an industry where you have to compete with other facilities for “customers.” Whether people are visiting a friend, being treated, having an outpatient test done or scheduling an appointment, you want them to leave happy.

Creating the ideal visit

What can your facility and its employees do to deliver a positive experience?

It isn’t all about being nice to people in person, although that’s a big part of it.

The study found that when it comes to interacting with hospitals, doctor’s offices or other healthcare providers, people are twice as likely as those in the airline, hotel and banking industries to say staff friendliness and attitude control whether the experience is positive or negative.

And if another facility offered a more “ideal experience,” one-third of those people would be willing to switch to that facility.

But providing a good visit/interaction is also about non-clinical elements:

  • 65% of the 6,000 survey respondents said they like the ability to exchange information through online and mobile channels
  • 53% place a high degree of value on the cafeteria, and access to WiFi and other entertainment
  • 69% want facilities that offer multiple services in one location, and
  • 57% place a high value on the patient education they receive.

Connect with social media

The takeaway from the survey: The healthcare industry has been lagging behind when it comes to transparency, convenience and quality of experience, and needs to do more.

Hospitals and providers all have to realize that consumers rely on past experiences and personal networks to make their healthcare decisions. So much so that they rank peer recommendations as twice as important to their decision making than in any other industry in the survey.

That’s why it’s so important for hospitals to monitor social media and online communities. Providing timely feedback and responses shows interest and concern.

It can also let you nip any negative communications/experiences in the bud, and possibly appease these people and win them back.

In the healthcare industry, people are less forgiving of negative experiences. However, the study found that two-thirds of disgruntled health insurance consumers were willing to turn the other check if their frustrations were acknowledged. It may work for hospitals, too.

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