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Patient experience is a big opportunity for hospitals to drive revenue, Black Book says

A full 92 percent of healthcare consumers surveyed said that improving customer experience should be a top strategy this year.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Providers and payers are confronting consumers' newfound expectations of medical convenience, efficiency, and innovative technologies. Those demands are forcing healthcare delivery to be envisioned differently to drive and retain patient volumes.

Nineteen recently-funded companies captured the approval of nationwide health consumers in a review of over 200 startups for their potential to deliver in the advent of healthcare consumerism, according to a new survey from Black Book.

The firm surveyed 650 health consumers through panel partners in the second quarter of 2018. The mean age of respondents was 37.2 years, and 44 percent of survey participants identified themselves as among the millennial generation or younger.

A full 92 percent of healthcare consumers surveyed said that improving customer experience should be a top strategic priority for medical providers over the next 12 months, increasing from 71 percent last year.

Consumers reported confidence that advanced technology is available to engage them with digital provider tools (93 percent), as well as offer a variety of virtual access points (85 percent), online scheduling (97 percent), online payment options (92 percent), and/or provide price transparency (94 percent). But only 9 percent of total providers reported the ability to offer these consumer demands successfully in a Black Book survey of hospitals and physicians.

Ninety percent of patients no longer feel obligated to stay with healthcare providers that don't deliver an overall satisfactory digital experience, and 88 percent of respondents under age 40 said they will choose their next medical provider based on a strong online presence.

Black Book's 2011-2016 marketplace study demonstrated that 77 percent of all new healthcare products failed. Lack of relevance, lack of distinction, inappropriate pricing and jumbled messaging all factor into a brand's fight to differentiate between consumers and buyers when launching a new healthcare technology product.

This year, Black Book sought out panels of healthcare consumers and presented a diverse range of technologies funded and/or launched in the past 12 months and asked which application or solutions -- from a one-sentence product description -- would: inspire immediate demand from them as an active consumer (meaning they had used or interacted with a healthcare technology, product or service within the last six months); would most likely drive an improvement in their healthcare status, choices or delivery in the next six months; is highly innovative and/or disruptive for the healthcare industry; and has immediate value to them.

An alphabetical directory of 210 healthcare consumer-oriented products from companies that received investor funding in the past 12 months was provided to panel members. Black Book culled the products and services that piqued the highest current application curiosity and demand. Each of the 19 vendors received an average score of 9 out of 10 across four product capabilities or features.

The startups are: 98Point6 (chat-based telemedicine); Able To (online behavioral health support); Amino (patient/doctor matching); Blink Health (an online tool to find the lowest prescription pricing); Carbon Health (virtual health clinic); CirrusMD (virtual health visits); Conversa (patient/caregiver communications); Day Two (personal laboratory analyses); EverlyWell (online lab testing); Kry (app-based telemedicine); Lemonaid Health (text-based telemedicine); Medisafe (personalized medication management); PatientPoint (engagement and education platform); Phil (prescription refilling and delivery); Policy Genius (health insurance shopping tool); Practo (provider locator and matching); Protenus (patient data protection); Push Doctor (virtual visits); Solv Health (urgent care visit scheduling); and Visit Pay (payment planning and processing).

Digital health startups raised an all-time high of $11.5 billion in 2017, according to Black Book.

Twitter: @JELagasse
Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com

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