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Patient Perspectives on Patient Engagement Technology 2022 Patient Perspectives on Patient Engagement Technology 2022
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Patient Perspectives on Patient Engagement Technology 2022
Identifying Opportunities to Align Patient, Organization, and Vendor Priorities

author - Adam Cherrington
Author
Adam Cherrington
author - Dan Czech
Author
Dan Czech
 
May 26, 2022 | Read Time: 7  minutes

The pandemic has emphasized the need for healthcare organizations to better accommodate patients’ needs and decrease barriers to effective care. However, patients are frequently absent from discussions around healthcare information technology (HIT). In KLAS’ previous report on the patient perspective, we discovered a lack of alignment between patients’ engagement technology priorities and those of provider organizations and vendors. Since then, KLAS has sought to gain a deeper understanding of what is needed from vendors and providers to drive greater alignment with patients. This report seeks to highlight the patient voice and is one of many KLAS initiatives aimed at more deeply understanding and measuring the patient perspective on HIT.

A Note About Data Collection

To gather patient perspectives on HIT, KLAS partnered with patient intake vendor Phreesia to survey nearly 13,000 patients across the US as they used Phreesia’s existing technology to check in for a doctor’s appointment, most commonly at an ambulatory facility. Because appointments were commonly for primary care, patient insights regarding acute or chronic care may be underrepresented in this sample. This collaboration is a result of Phreesia and KLAS having a common interest in ensuring patients’ voices are heard and that technology reflects their needs and preferences. As part of the non-financial agreement, KLAS performed its own analysis of the shared data, created this report, and maintains editorial rights. Phreesia was given an opportunity to review and provide feedback on KLAS’ final analysis, and we are grateful for their collaboration. KLAS’ partnership with Phreesia is in no way an endorsement of Phreesia’s performance and has had no impact on Phreesia’s standing in KLAS ratings.

Organizations & Vendors Not Aligned with Patient Focus on Self-Scheduling, Prescription Refill Requests

Ideally, HIT usage and goals should align across patients, provider organizations, and vendors. When vendors and provider organizations sync their technology strategies with patient needs and expectations, their intention is to increase patient engagement and improve outcomes. In some areas, patients, organizations, and vendors are aligned—for example, family/caregiver collaboration tools and systems that allow patients to find doctors are of relatively low importance to all parties. But some functionalities that patients greatly desire are currently limited or unavailable due to a lack of vendor development or a lack of readiness or willingness from provider organizations.

Patients see great potential in the ability to self-schedule appointments and request prescription refills, yet these areas are where provider investment and vendor delivery fall the most short of patient expectations. While alignment between what patients desire, what provider organizations adopt, and what vendors deliver is important, misalignment doesn’t always indicate an issue. For example, while patients don’t identify patient satisfaction surveys or educational information as top priorities, both can bring value—surveys can give provider organizations important insights to improve the patient experience, and meaningful educational information can benefit patients and improve health outcomes.

As patients become more empowered consumers, provider organizations and vendors will need to collaborate with patients and enhance system capabilities so patients can more conveniently engage in their care.

patient provider and vendor alignment on patient engagement technology

† The data on provider organizations’ top areas of investment comes from a report published in late 2020 in which vendors’ deepest adopting customer organizations were surveyed regarding which capabilities they use from their vendor.

‡ The data on vendors’ top areas of delivery comes from vendor-reported information in the 2021 Patient Engagement Ecosystem report.

§ Because the patient perspectives represented in this report were provided by patients as they were using technology to register or check in for an appointment, the importance of registration/check-in technology to patients may be inflated in the data.

abilities patients currently have vs abilities patients want to have

Note: The four abilities shown above have the greatest gaps between what patients want to do online/via app and what they can do online/via app.

Patients Value Convenience Most When Seeking Care; Digital Access Tools Are Significant Opportunity for Organizations

Patients were asked what they most value in choosing a provider organization, aside from the quality of the medical care they would receive. While facility proximity has been and continues to be an important consideration, patients are placing increased focus on provider organizations’ digital access tools (e.g., appointment check-in, online appointment booking, price transparency, online bill-pay, online communications). Younger patients—those 18–34 years old—are almost twice as likely to choose organizations that have digital access tools, especially for price transparency. Understandably, patients with commercial insurance are more likely than patients with government insurance to prioritize provider organizations that have price transparency tools.

factors patients value most when choosing where to receive care

Virtual Visit Adoption Expected to Continue or Increase for Certain Patients

 number of virtual visits in the past year anticipated number of virtual visits in the next year likelihood of trying virtual visits in the next yearThe COVID-19 pandemic revolutionized how organizations deliver care by expanding adoption of virtual visits. Although nearly half of respondents report they did not participate in a virtual visit in the past year, this does not mean they are opposed to virtual care. 40% of patients who didn’t have a virtual visit this past year report they are likely to receive care virtually in the future. Middle-aged adults (35–54 years old) are the most likely age group to adopt virtual care in the future, though patients in other age groups are still likely to participate. Despite their current adoption being lower, Black/African American patients and Asian patients are the racial groups most likely to try virtual visits in the future; respectively, 57% and 54% report an interest. Patients who did receive care virtually this past year are likely to maintain or increase their number of virtual visits.

While the vast majority of respondents report satisfaction with virtual visits, some note opportunities to improve the quality of care, audio/video quality, and ease of navigation. These patients say the most impactful ways organizations can improve the virtual care experience include better educating patients on the types of visits that are appropriate for virtual care; preparing patients up front by sending links, tips, and tricks beforehand; and reducing patient wait time.

satisfaction with various aspects of virtual care experience
patient suggestions for improving virtual care experience

Within Portals, Patients Place Most Value on Capabilities That Directly Impact Ability to Receive Care

Patient portals were implemented largely so organizations could meet meaningful use requirements rather than deeply engage patients in their care. Only 33% of respondents interact with a portal at least once a month, and 26% say they still don’t use a portal—patients in the youngest age group (18–24 years old) are the most likely to fall into this category (39% report never using the portal). Vendor development of portals has matured, and patients mention having many capabilities. Respondents prioritize actionable features that directly affect their ability to receive care, such as the ability to request prescription refills, request referrals, and schedule appointments. Capabilities that largely benefit provider organizations, like the ability to update insurance information, are far less important to patients. To further engage patients, organizations often explore additional methods beyond the portal.

frequency of portal use
availability vs importance of portal functionalities

Study Demographics

respondent age
respondent gender
respondents highest level of education
respondent insurance type
respondents last discussion with doctor
respondent relationship with doctor
respondent race

About This Report

To collect the patient perspectives reported on in this research, KLAS partnered with patient intake vendor Phreesia to survey patients as they used Phreesia’s existing technology to check in for a doctor’s appointment, most commonly at an ambulatory facility. Because appointments were commonly for primary care, patient insights regarding acute or chronic care may be underrepresented in this sample. The research was conducted in 2021, and perspectives were gathered from 12,861 patients across the US. The quantitative survey included 14 questions about the patient’s communication with their doctor, experience with telehealth technology, and experience with other patient engagement tools. Respondents’ demographic information was also gathered through Phreesia’s technology. To protect patient privacy, no commentary was collected from respondents.

Help KLAS Amplify Patients’ Voices

KLAS intends to continue collecting research on patient perspectives and partner with provider organizations and HIT vendors to promote best practices that will help organizations align with patient needs. This effort will be called the Patient Voice Collaborative. All parties interested in participating in this collaborative are invited to contact us at patientengagement@klasresearch.com.

author - Sarah Hanson
Writer
Sarah Hanson
author - Madison Moniz
Designer
Madison Moniz
author - Natalie Jamison
Project Manager
Natalie Jamison
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This material is copyrighted. Any organization gaining unauthorized access to this report will be liable to compensate KLAS for the full retail price. Please see the KLAS DATA USE POLICY for information regarding use of this report. © 2024 KLAS Research, LLC. All Rights Reserved. NOTE: Performance scores may change significantly when including newly interviewed provider organizations, especially when added to a smaller sample size like in emerging markets with a small number of live clients. The findings presented are not meant to be conclusive data for an entire client base.