Healthcare consumers demand strong digital experiences in the same way retail consumers do, according to a new report.
According to research findings announced March 5, 2018, by NTT DATA Services, at the HIMSS Conference in Las Vegas, U.S. healthcare consumers want simple and reliable digital interactions for routine transactions, such as filling prescriptions, accessing test results, and making doctor appointments. In fact, 59% of U.S. consumers expect their healthcare digital customer experience to be similar to retail.
More than 75% of today’s tech-savvy consumers say that healthcare digital experiences must improve; half of these same consumers agree that they would leave their current doctor for a better digital experience elsewhere, according to the findings.
This study was conducted through surveys of more than 1,100 U.S. based consumers during September 2017. Consumers were sent surveys with questions about their healthcare digital customer experience, and NTT DATA Services calculated the results based on the answers provided. The research was conducted with three key questions in mind:
- How satisfied are consumers with healthcare companies’ digital consumer experience?
- In what areas could doctors’ offices and healthcare insurance providers offer more seamless care
- What methods of interaction do customers prefer from their healthcare organizations?
“As the emphasis on digital experience in today’s marketplace increases, patients—who are the same consumers accustomed to strong digital experiences in the retail industry—will place more importance in strong digital interactions with their healthcare organizations,” says Karen Way, principal consultant, analytics and care management for NTT DATA Services.
“When we look at consumer-focused brands, we see such engaging content and strong consumer interactions, which have changed the entire digital customer experience in that industry,” Way says. “Patients in the healthcare industry are no different than consumers in the retail industry: they want their own relationships with healthcare providers, with a strong digital experience that meets the consumers’ needs.”
Improve the digital experience
In order to improve the digital experience, healthcare organizations can adjust their mobile applications and online sites to better enable consumers to accomplish tasks, such as searching for a doctor or specialist, access personal health records, paying bills, making appointments, and filling prescriptions, according to Way.
“Those companies that allow customers to accomplish these tasks in a quick and simple manner will become more suited to respond to patient needs in the future, thus attracting more consumers, building stronger relationships and generating more revenue,” she says.
In order to thrive in today’s ever-changing healthcare market, healthcare executives need to start thinking of their members and patients as consumers, according to Way.
“Patients are expecting interactions with healthcare organizations that are similar to experiences that they might have with Amazon, Google, and other large-brand retailers,” she says. “If they aren’t improving their approach to customer experience, healthcare companies will begin to lose their market shares to companies with more retail-oriented healthcare delivery.”
The biggest takeaway that healthcare executives must understand is the importance of knowing and understanding member/patient population, says Way.
“They are clearly looking for mobile and digital options to more easily navigate the healthcare ecosystem,” she says. “Businesses looking to succeed in the industry must provide those options to keep their customers happy.”