Survey on how consumers find, get care reveals price transparency is key selling point

As consumers continue to rely on the internet to find care, healthcare organizations are the most trustworthy source of information, a new survey has found.

The survey, conducted by provider solutions company Kyruus, found that the internet still remains the top option for consumers in their search for care, while cost, quality and convenience are the top factors that influence the care they select today and in the future.

A third said being able to book online would influence where they get care in the future, with more than 40% of respondents saying they prefer this booking option. The vast majority of consumers are also really interested in doing pre-visit tasks digitally.

“You're not waiting in line to do something anymore, you’re just doing it," Scott Andrews, general manager of health systems at Kyruus, told Fierce Healthcare. "As that becomes more and more prevalent in every other aspect of our lives, we’re taking that and shifting it over to healthcare as well.” 

Most consumers also prefer texts, email or app notifications for communication. Another recent Kyruus survey on provider perspectives related to patient access found that providers are “all in on this,” Andrews said. They want to partner with their healthcare organizations on digital access initiatives.

Nearly 7 in 10 respondents said they’d be more likely to book care that offered some visibility into the expected cost. The new requirement for payers to publish a list of the top most shoppable items is “the beginning of the push to see more price transparency,” Andrews explained. Health systems could be doing more to harness this as a differentiator and strategic tool to attract more patients, he noted.

Most consumers who search for care online look at two or more sources to make their decision, and when searching specifically for a new provider consumers turn to a healthcare organization’s website first and foremost. Consumers are also increasingly turning to social media to search for a provider, with 26% doing so this year compared to 15% last year. 

The method is more popular among younger generations like millennials and Gen Z, “a potential foreshadowing of how younger generations may assess different resources in their future searches for care,” the report on the findings noted. 

When searching for care online, consumers were most likely to rely on filters related to location and medical specialties or specific conditions, as well as specific hospital or health system brand names. 

Nearly half of respondents said they consider healthcare organizations to be the most trustworthy resource when searching for care information. One-fifth of consumers also see payers as the most trustworthy, “underscoring the growing prominence of this channel as a resource for consumers.” Social media, despite its increased usage from 2021, is not one of the most trustworthy sources for gathering provider or service information.

In the survey, Kyruus aimed to understand the different digital channels by which providers can reach consumers. It reached more than 1,000 consumers to understand their preferences for finding, choosing and booking care. All respondents searched for a provider in the last two years and represented a mix of private insurance and Medicare or Medicaid from four age groups.