Why it’s crucial to empower patients with data and digital access

Kyruus’ Benchmark reports illuminate the path to enhanced care access through technology and transparency, enabling trust by consumers.

When attempting to solve a problem within healthcare, it's best to work with quantitative data. Knowing and understanding the wants, needs and concerns of patients who interact with the healthcare system every day is vital. But that data often veers towards qualitative as it changes from person to person, and hundreds of millions of people access the healthcare system every year.

To help unblur the line, Kyruus Health, a healthcare provider data management and patient engagement organization, asked 1,000 healthcare consumers about care access. The results of this survey are included in the company’s annual Care Access Benchmark reports for payers and providers, and they reveal how payers, providers, health technology partners and the healthcare industry as a whole must adapt to meet growing patient demands.

The survey’s findings emphasize that offering self-service capabilities is just the beginning. A modern, user-friendly digital experience is essential for fostering trust and building lasting connections with consumers.

Transforming healthcare data management

Accurate, robust data is the foundation for empowering consumers to select the best care choices. Payer and provider organizations can achieve this by creating a comprehensive digital access strategy that ensures provider, location and service data is accurate across its entire ecosystem.

In addition to those standard elements, a robust provider profile, including philosophy of care, enhances patient-centered care, enables shared decision-making, and ultimately improves patient satisfaction and outcomes while lowering overall costs. By prioritizing intuitive and easy-to-navigate digital experiences, rich with in-depth provider information, patient trust is enhanced. 

Access options. The preferred means of scheduling appointments vary across generations, with 60 percent of Baby Boomers favoring telephone scheduling. Payers and providers need to optimize the scheduling experience across all channels, leveraging accurate provider information to ensure consistency and efficiency. By broadening its digital roadmap, organizations can offer online scheduling options that complement traditional access channels, providing patients with a positive and efficient experience while allowing administrators additional time to focus on more impactful tasks.

Digital self-service expectations.  The report highlights that 61 percent of consumers consider online appointment scheduling extremely or very important. This preference for digital self-service extends beyond scheduling, with 77 percent of consumers expressing interest in completing pre-visit questionnaires online. Payers and providers must recognize that digital self-service is not a singular transactional experience. Instead, it represents an end-to-end strategy that includes online scheduling, pre-visit questionnaires, insurance verification, payment processing, and check-in procedures.

Accurate data builds patient trust

Healthcare organizations need to better understand the evolving landscape of consumer behavior in the digital age. The report reveals that consumers extensively use digital channels for healthcare searches, with general internet searches, healthcare organization websites, and health plan websites being primary sources.

To meet these evolving expectations, these organizations must optimize their digital presence to ensure accurate and up-to-date information across all touchpoints. If not, patients lose trust, and healthcare organizations lose business.

Provider data. The reports indicate that 77 percent of patients would lose trust if they found inaccurate provider information on their health plan’s site. Patient trust is directly linked to the accuracy of the data provided by payers and providers. This includes everything from appointment availability, estimated care costs, and accepted insurance to provider care specialties, experiences, and backgrounds.

Pricing data. A staggering 96 percent of consumers consider cost information when selecting a new provider, emphasizing the need for price transparency. Unknown costs are identified as a significant barrier to care, particularly among younger generations. With 44 percent of consumers avoiding healthcare services because of uncertain costs, payers and providers must address this issue head-on by integrating user-friendly cost transparency tools.

To capture and build on patient trust, payers and providers must collaborate to ensure that provider and pricing data are consistent, accurate, and easily accessible.

Both payers and providers face unprecedented challenges in managing healthcare data and ensuring that their systems align with consumers' evolving expectations. Healthcare organizations are grappling with a dynamic environment marked by revenue and patient satisfaction demands, staffing shortages, and heightened consumer expectations. As executives of these organizations strive to position their organizations for success, the adoption of digital strategies becomes crucial.

As both payers and providers strive to navigate the digital frontier, the insights from Kyruus Health's 2023 Care Access Benchmark Reports provide a roadmap for success. By focusing on digital strategies, optimizing data accuracy, and embracing comprehensive self-service experiences, organizations can better position their digital front door to meet evolving consumer expectations and enhance overall access to care. The key to success lies in leveraging technology to create a seamless, consumer-centric healthcare journey.

Peter Boumenot is the chief product officer at Kyruus Health, driving its product strategy.

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