Value Is The Driving Force In Patient Behavior
Consumerism is no longer an “emerging trend” in healthcare but rather a driving force. Patient behavior is changing significantly, and resulting in winners and losers among healthcare providers. The most recent online survey of 1,045 healthcare consumers found that they are paying close attention both to the price of services, and to quality. The findings show patients will schedule care, do research, and change providers if necessary to get the value they expect and minimize their out-of-pocket spend.
Quality Of Care Matters Most
Quality of care is still the most important factor to patients when selecting a provider. Consumers do not expect to sacrifice quality in order to save on out-of-pocket expenses. In fact, many patients, especially Millennials and those with household incomes higher than $75,000 per year, are actually willing to pay more to go to a provider who offers new technology and products, faster diagnoses, and shorter wait times.
Controlling Out-of-Pocket Costs Is Also Important
Nearly three-quarters of patients say they always try to reduce out-of-pocket expenses. More than ever, patients research providers before seeking medical attention, ask for cost estimates, and consider costs when choosing providers. High deductibles are motivating patients to make cost a factor when selecting or deciding to stay with a provider. These trends are most pronounced with Millennials.
Patients Increasingly Schedule Care To Reduce Expenses
Patients are controlling their out-of-pocket costs by scheduling healthcare in the first quarter to meet deductibles early, or by seeking additional care in the fourth quarter after deductibles have been met. Almost 30% of patients with high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) will schedule care in Q1 compared to 19% of other patients, and more than a quarter of patients scheduled care in Q4 compared to 14% of patients with other private insurance. These decisions are increasing the seasonality of demand for healthcare services.
Patients are demanding value from healthcare, not just cost reductions. As healthcare continues to become more consumer-driven, providers who deliver value to patients will be the winners, as will the manufacturers and suppliers who assist with their success.