Healthcare News & Insights

How health IT can boost patient satisfaction

Thanks to legislative developments and changes in the way patients shop for health care, it’s becoming critical for hospitals and physician practices to pay attention to patient satisfaction. Here’s how health IT can help. 

As patients become responsible for more of the cost of their healthcare and start exerting more control over their health, the industry is becoming more similar to retail, travel and other industries — people who aren’t satisfied will leave for another organization.

And although consumers’ expectations when they deal with healthcare providers are the same as when they buys goods or services in other industries, healthcare organizations are significantly behind others in terms of meeting those expectations, according to the recent report Customer experience in healthcare: The moment of truth, published by PwC’s Health Research Institute (HRI).

What are those expectations? Not surprisingly, patients value convenience, speed and easy access, according to the report. One thing that means is patients want to see more online communications and self-service tools.

When asked what they value from healthcare providers, 65% said they appreciate the ability to exchange information through online and mobile channels of communication. That was the second most popular answer, behind wanting facilities to perform multiple services in the same location (69%).

Also, 57% said the education they receive during their visits is important in judging their experience with a healthcare organization. Non-clinical factors were important, too, as 53% highly value access to Wi-Fi and other entertainment.

Personal health records increase loyalty

Another health IT tool that can have a big impact on patient satisfaction is access to a personal health record (PHR), according to a recent study by Kaiser Permanente.

The health organization studied nearly 400,000 patients over three years to determine what factors influenced patient loyalty. One result: Patients who used Kaiser’s PHR were 2.6 times more likely to stay with the organization.

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