Consumer choice reshapes the hospital experience

Healthcare providers are behind the times when it comes to providing the choices, transparency and experiences today's consumer expects, according to a new survey by Strategy&, a management consultancy.

Among the findings in the survey of 2,339 U.S. residents:

  • More than a quarter of respondents said they'd prefer to interact with their provider digitally rather than in person or by telephone

  • Younger consumers found price to be a more important factor in healthcare choices than older consumers, but also valued "trusted advice" more than cost alone

  • Half of younger consumers said they would choose a lower-ranked hospital if it looked modern

  • Forty percent said they would trust a large retailer such as Target or Wal-Mart with their healthcare, and nearly as many said they would trust a digitally enabled company such as Google or Amazon (Wal-Mart has already opened several primary care clinics around the country, with more to come)

  • Two-thirds said they were happy with their core benefits, but only about half were satisfied with their overall healthcare experience

"This data means that the days of one-size-fits-all service offerings and brand positioning strategies that view healthcare consumers as a unified mass are over," the report authors concluded. "Value propositions throughout the healthcare value chain must be tailored to the consumer, with specific product attributes reflecting the trade-offs that these different consumer segments favor."

Some hospitals are experimenting with different customer-service models in an effort to improve the patient and family experience. The Mayo Clinic, for example, uses a "destination medicine" model that provides a wide range of specialists in rooms that provide plenty of seating for large family groups.

But hospital clinics are facing some of their stiffest competition from retail clinics, a survey from PwC's Health Research Institute found. Twenty-three percent of those surveyed said they had sought treatment in a retail clinic, and 73 percent said they would go back.

For more information:
- read the survey report