Although consumers’ frustrations are high, healthcare providers struggle to prioritize the issue against competing priorities
As healthcare providers scramble to adapt to changing government regulations, growing consolidation pressures, and the transformation from volume to value-based care, frustration with the patient experience is an increasing concern, according to “The State of Consumer Healthcare: A Study of Patient Experience from Prophet and GE Healthcare Camden Group,” which was published today.
According to the study, which was commissioned by Prophet and GE Healthcare Camden Group, as part of their work to better understand and address the challenges of the patient experience, 81% of consumers surveyed indicate they are unsatisfied with their healthcare experience.
Furthermore, the study uncovered an extremely large gap between the experience consumers report receiving and what providers believe they are offering. In fact, the providers surveyed overestimated the overall quality of the experience they give patients by more than 20%.
“There is a misperception among providers about how well they are truly meeting consumer expectations,” said Jeff Gourdji, co-lead of Prophet’s healthcare practice. “Although they acknowledge its importance, providers are finding it challenging to focus on patient experience in the face of so many competing priorities.”
Indeed, the hospital CEOs surveyed said patient satisfaction is not currently among their top five priorities. However, Prophet and GE Healthcare Camden Group suggest that investments toward enhancing the patient experience – if done correctly – will help improve an organization’s operational efficiency and bottom line.
“The priorities of health system leadership and their patients are not in conflict. For both parties, wait time is wasted time,” said Helen Stewart, Managing Principal at GE Healthcare. “The common misperception is that focusing on the patient experience means spending less time on other cost and revenue initiatives – which doesn’t have to be the case. Investments to improve the patient experience can drive both growth and cost reduction.”
Nonetheless, as healthcare systems consolidate and the transformation of payment and care models accelerates, patient experience appears to be getting worse, not better. Between 2013 and 2014, the healthcare industry saw a 14% increase in consolidation, and a 3% decline in patient satisfaction.
“Providers are struggling to adapt to the rising culture of ‘consumerism,’ which has heightened people’s expectations. The power has shifted to the consumer in nearly every industry, and now it’s healthcare’s turn,” said Paul Schrimpf, co-lead of Prophet’s healthcare practice. “As consolidation streamlines the number of healthcare players in a market, the ones left standing and thriving will be the systems that provide a differentiated and exceptional experience for its patrons.”
Most healthcare providers are aware of the need to improve the experience. In fact, 75% of those surveyed believe the patient experience is key to their future success. The critical challenge for most is figuring out how to make meaningful improvements when faced with so many other demands on their time and resources.
To combat this challenge, Prophet and GE Healthcare Camden Group have integrated their expertise in patient experience strategy and operational and change management to create a 360-degree patient experience offering. Together, they are helping healthcare providers develop a holistic patient experience strategy that supports organizational priorities, and successfully implement a data-driven and cost-effective plan that will drive efficiencies and fix experience gaps. The offering is aimed at simultaneously improving the patient experience and impacting the health systems’ key financial targets.
“The results of our study prove that to be successful, healthcare providers need to modernize their approach to patient experience,” said Laura Jacobs, President, GE Healthcare Camden Group. “Creating better and more holistic experiences doesn’t just mean happier patients. It translates to increased capacity, lower operating costs, improved financial performance, and higher employee satisfaction and retention. For healthcare providers, the key to profitability and longevity lies in their ability to deliver a superior consumer experience.”
“The State of Consumer Healthcare” study was conducted jointly by Prophet, a global brand and marketing consultancy, and GE Healthcare Camden Group, one of the nation’s leading healthcare business advisory and activation firms. It incorporates responses from 3,000 consumers and 300 senior leaders (Vice President or higher) at healthcare provider systems that employ at least 20 physicians. More information about the study and its findings can be found at www.prophet.com/patientexperience.