Analyzing Patient Perspectives on Engagement Technology - Cover

Analyzing Patient Perspectives on Engagement Technology

Though the patient perspective was an important discussion before, the pandemic further highlighted a huge need to listen better to patients and to learn from their point of view. By doing so, both providers and vendors alike can make sure the technology used in healthcare reflects patients’ needs and desires. However, the reality is that patients are still often absent from conversations surrounding healthcare IT.

KLAS recently partnered with patient intake vendor Phreesia to survey patients across the US. The goal was to find out more about what patients want and need from patient engagement technology. Our recent report, Patient Perspectives on Patient Engagement Technology 2022, is the result of this research.

Why We Partnered with Phreesia

KLAS’ partnership with Phreesia came about because our missions align; we both want to amplify the voice of the patient in healthcare. We worked to make sure we could feasibly work together and still maintain KLAS' unbiased approach. For this reason, all the analysis was done independently by KLAS, and we maintain authorship and editorial rights of the report. Phreesia facilitated all the data collection and gave us the anonymized data set.

A Look at What Patients Value

Some of the research was very telling about why patients choose their doctors. We’ve broken them out in the chart below. Now, there are things organizations can change and things that they can't. They likely can't change the location of their facilities or their availability outside of hiring more physicians. But outside of those two primary drivers, there is a huge opportunity to create a great experience with digital tools.

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One example is price transparency, which has been regulated since the beginning of 2021. Organizations are required to be able to tell patients what they will pay for a certain number of procedures. This makes a lot of sense when you realize that patients want the ability to know how much their care is going to cost.

These findings help provide an overview of factors patients care about. If you are a provider wondering how to get more patients to come to your facilities, these are some of the bigger opportunities for you to look closer at.

One other thing to note: this shows a shift in patients desiring to be more empowered in their care. The things that patients want to do with technology are not rocket science. Often, other industries have already figured out how to do things like self-scheduling appointments, prescription refill requests, and online bill pay. We don’t want to oversimplify it; there are unique challenges in healthcare, particularly for specialties, but we can still learn from what is already out there.

Voices for Telehealth

The findings around telehealth are also very telling. Most people know that healthcare saw a huge increase in telehealth use during the height of the pandemic. But then telehealth usage started to drastically decrease. Organizations are now trying to figure out whether the government is going to continue to reimburse telehealth visits. Some are asking whether they even need to be an organization that offers telehealth.

But if you look at what patients are saying, it's pretty clear that organizations should figure out a way to offer telehealth whether or not the reimbursement is the same. This study showed that about half of patients had done virtual visits in the past year. Of those, most are going to maintain or increase their volume of virtual visits. And of those that have not had a virtual visit, many say they're likely to try virtual visits in the future. All indicators show that most patients still want to be able to access care virtually.

Why Patients’ Perspectives Matter More Than Ever

Despite the increased challenges facing healthcare providers right now, a focus on the technology that patients want should be a priority for healthcare leaders. This is for a few reasons. One, the deeper you drive patient satisfaction, the more it can translate into, for example, better HCAHPS scores. Those scores in turn affect reimbursement rates.

The second reason is that organizations who figure out how to digitally engage with their patients will keep their patients. As we become increasingly better consumers in healthcare, we're going to start choosing providers that create our desired experience within the confines of our insurance plans. That's often more about care right now, but it is becoming more and more about convenience. Can I schedule my appointment online? Do I have to fill out another form after I've already done it on my phone? Factors like these that drive satisfaction will become bigger decision-makers; we're already seeing this in pockets in the industry.

The third reason is that if organizations can really engage patients through technology in a way that impacts their behaviors, then they could potentially reduce the cost of care. It makes sense to figure out how to engage patients in their care using technology. It also makes sense to get patients out of hospitals and recovering at home using remote patient monitoring, for example.

These are all financial reasons, but with the industry facing burnout and staff shortages, the bottom line is becoming increasingly important.

Continuing the Research

Outside of the Arch Collaborative data set, this was the deepest of any data set KLAS has ever worked with. There are more than 13,000 responses across many different races, genders, and specialties. There are also a lot of breakouts to the data that providers can use to really identify where to invest money to get the biggest impact. So if you want to dig more into this data, we invite you to read the report.

KLAS also plans to continue researching patients’ perspectives on the technology used in healthcare. We are interested in pursuing additional patient-facing research and are always looking for brave organizations who want to partner on early efforts to understand their patient base better. If you are a provider or even a vendor who wants to learn more about their patients’ needs, please reach out to us. We’d love to see what we can do together.