New Survey Reveals Patients More Tolerant During Pandemic Even As Challenges in the Healthcare System Persist
Data shows patient loyalty increased despite need for better engagement
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.–October 5, 2021– Pegasystems Inc. (NASDAQ: PEGA), the software company that crushes business complexity, today announced a new survey revealing healthcare consumers have grown more tolerant of missteps from their providers during the pandemic. Most tellingly, the number of patients who said they would switch doctors due to poor communication and engagement dropped a full 23% (from 86% to 63%) compared to last year–despite persistent issues that continue to plague the healthcare industry.
For the third consecutive year, Pega surveyed 2,000 U.S.–based consumers and 200 healthcare business decision makers on the state of engagement in the industry. The results pointed to a number of improvements in coordinated engagement experienced by consumers from their doctors and insurers: 50% of consumers agree their doctor and health insurer are in sync and closely connected, which is a significant increase from only 27% last year. Consumers also report better cost predictability from health insurers: 51% say their insurer can tell them the costs before a procedure, which is up from 16% the year prior.
But will these positive feelings extend beyond the pandemic? Overall, the healthcare system continues to frustrate consumers: 55% say that navigating it remains difficult compared to 61% last year. If providers and payers hope to build on their newfound customer goodwill, the survey suggests two key focus areas to help deliver better personalized care experiences:
• Bridge the patient communication gap: The majority of care organizations (76%) believe they make it easy for patients to connect with them. However, just over half (54%) of consumers say they are happy with the level of communication from their doctor’s office. And when healthcare organizations do communicate, the information provided can be confusing: almost half (48%) of consumers say they receive inconsistent information from insurers–which is a nearly a 20% increase from last year. Organizations must address this perception gap to solidify patient trust and loyalty.
• Accelerate the adoption of advanced technology: Consumers are slowly becoming more willing to allow payers and providers to use more technology if it means improving their health outcomes. For example, 53% of consumers say they are open to giving insurers access to their real-time health data–a 13% increase from last year. In addition, 49% are comfortable with their doctors using AI to make better care decisions. As customer comfort levels with these approaches increase, health organizations have an opportunity to introduce new proactive ways to engage with health consumers.
Although consumers express more loyalty to their doctors and payers than prior to the pandemic, providers aren’t as convinced: 77% think patients would switch providers due to poor communications–up a full 103% over last year. As such, the wide majority are exploring new technology to better engage with their patients to help them stay proactive with care.
The common thread for addressing industry pain points is connectivity–from connecting patients to the right care and offering personalized and proactive experiences, to better connecting information across the ecosystem. To further explore the results of this year’s survey, visit https://www.pega.com/healthcare-engagement.
Quotes and Commentary
“While the healthcare industry made strides to deliver connected, simplified experiences during a tumultuous year, the reality is that consumers still bear the brunt of navigating a very complex ecosystem,” said Kelli Bravo, vice president and global industry market lead, healthcare and life sciences, Pegasystems. “In the post-pandemic world, care teams–from providers to insurers – must increase personalization and reduce complexity to empower consumers to engage more in their health and drive better care outcomes.”
The third annual Pega Healthcare Engagement Survey was conducted by research company, Censuswide, between June 18 and 25, 2021 with U.S.-based consumers (~2,000) and decision makers (~200) from large companies across three sectors: healthcare payers, healthcare providers, and life sciences/pharma. The research conducted adheres to the MRS Codes of Conduct and ICC/ESOMAR World Research Guidelines. Censuswide is registered with the Information Commissioner's Office and is fully compliant with GDPR (2018).
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