As patients become more responsible health care consumers, they are increasingly willing to seek alternatives to their current providers. For hospital and health system strategists, the first step to preventing patient switching is to understand what is causing them to shop around for health care.
“Traditionally, our answer to retaining patients has been to become very adept at looking inward—creating patient satisfaction initiatives based on surveys that measure patient experience during and after a care episode with us,” says Kevin Stanberg, director of strategy and patient experience at Memorial Medical Center in Wisconsin. “What we’re not so good at is looking outward at what the general public thinks about us. What causes them to choose one provider over the other? What ultimately causes them to switch providers?
“It’s this outward look that can lead to the kind of patient-centered initiatives that allow a facility to keep existing patients, as well as attract patients who are considering switching providers,” he says.
Collecting the Right Data
Over the past three years, Memorial Medical Center has relied on its marketing partner Hailey Sault to provide the data it needs to get a closer look at what causes patient to switch. The latest research, Why Patients Change: 2017, offers the following insights:
A Deep Dive into Patient ChoiceIn a recent issue of SHSMD's Spectrum, Stranberg and Marsha Hystead, partner/chief creative officer a Hailey Sault, discuss the quantitative and qualitative approaches needed to understand the patient-choice, decision-making journey.
- Fifty percent more people are shopping— or considering switching providers—than just three years ago.
- Those more open to switching are millennials, and 36 percent say they often look for health care options other than what their primary care doctor recommends.
- More than 1 in 4 patients would consider switching, if a provider offered cost transparency or a review of costs before treatment.
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