Healthcare consumerism isn’t new, but the last few years have rearranged the list of what patients are looking for in their providers more than any other time in recent memory.
To uncover what factors are currently patients’ top priorities, Accenture surveyed more than 21k US healthcare consumers since 2017, finding that loyalty is now more important and harder to come by than ever.
- 30% of respondents switched to a new provider in 2021, up 4% since 2017.
- Nearly 80% of patients who switched cited poor care navigation as the reason for leaving, including bad experiences with staff and inadequate digital solutions.
- Millennials were nearly 8x more likely to switch providers than older adults (46% vs. 6%) – an important trend to keep an eye on considering that they’re in a unique position to make healthcare decisions for both their children and aging parents.
Accenture identified four focus areas for organizations looking to build patient loyalty in an increasingly competitive landscape.
- Access: 71% cited access as the top factor in selecting a provider (availability, convenience, the ability to connect with providers through preferred channels).
- Ease of Doing Business: People who find their providers “very easy” to work with are 9x more likely to stay. Even providers who were “somewhat easy” to work with were 3x more likely to keep patients.
- Digital Engagement: 79% of patients who described themselves as “highly digital” were likely to stay with their providers. These patients exclusively prefer digital engagement and only fall back to traditional channels when digital methods fail.
- Trust: Patients who trust their provider were 5x more likely to stay (84%), and almost 7x more likely to stay than those who don’t trust their providers at all.
Accenture’s report underscores how important it is to lead with the patient experience when building loyalty… and just how difficult of a job that is to actually get right. Patients trust providers who make them feel heard and informed about the state of their health, but building true loyalty “not only requires the ability to meet people where they are, it also means understanding where they are going.”