Healthcare News & Insights

Survey: Online services key for patient satisfaction

As patients make more choices about their healthcare, providers must work harder to keep them satisfied. Offering more access to online services will help, according to one recent survey. 

Most experts agree that patient choice is becoming more important for health care. As people are required to to spend more of their own money for their insurance premiums, and as technology makes it easier to conduct research, people are starting to behave as “healthcare consumers,” similar to the ways people shop in other industries.

That’s one reason healthcare providers are beginning to pay more attention to patient satisfaction — as people make more choices about where they receive their care, they aren’t likely to keep returning to a facility that provides an unsatisfactory experience.

But unfortunately, many providers could improve their patient satisfaction, according to a recent Harris Poll of 2,300 U.S. adults. Among the survey respondents who had visited a doctor’s office within the past year, less than half (47%) reported being very satisfied with their most recent visit. Another 36% were only somewhat satisfied, leaving 17% that had a negative experience in their last medical visit.

According to the poll results, one thing that could greatly increase patients’ satisfaction levels: giving them more access to online tech tools. Consumers are becoming interested in health IT services far more quickly than providers are offering them. Survey respondents showed a strong desire to view their health records online, communicate with doctors electronically and manage their bills through the web, but the majority aren’t currently able to. For example:

  1. 65% said they want to be able to access their medical records, test results and histories online, compared to 17% that have that access now
  2. 58% want an online calculator to estimate costs for specific services, compared to 6% that currently have access to a tool like that
  3. 57% want electronic reminders about scheduling appointments, compared to 12% who get those reminders currently
  4. 53% would like to be able to email their doctor, compared to 12% who can now
  5. 51% want to schedule appointments online, compared to 11% who have that option, and
  6. 50% want access to online billing and payment systems, compared to 10% who do now.

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