by Larry Mead, Kate Kompelien and Kurt Schroeder
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – May 18, 2021 – Avtex, a TTEC Digital company, announced today the results of their 2021 Omnichannel Healthcare Experience Report, a national survey gauging patient preferences for receiving healthcare, communicating with payers and providers, and leveraging digital channels, indicating significant changes in patient needs and health care utilization post-COVID. The web-based survey of 1,025 U.S. patients, conducted by Avtex and fielded by Qualtrics panels, reveals key findings on mental health, delivery models, communication channels, and patient personas.
The goal of the research for the Omnichannel Healthcare Experience Report was to understand how recent events – the pandemic, entry of retail incumbents into the healthcare market, and increased regulation around interoperability and price transparency – influenced patient preferences.
The most significant finding is the rapid increase and preference for digital experience-delivery channels, even during a time when engaging older generations, who preferred traditional channels, was imperative.
“Reaching across generations, especially during urgent periods of notifying patients of COVID procedures and managing vaccine deployment, significantly complicated the patient communications equation,” said Mike Pietig, Vice President of Healthcare Experience at Avtex. “The pandemic was the catalyst driving an elevated focus on patient experience and digital transformation. The landscape we are currently navigating is unfamiliar, and it’s never going back to the way it was before – this is Healthcare 3.0. Providers and payers can’t ignore these findings if they want to retain and attract patients moving forward.”
The research also helps healthcare leaders:
- Understand which communication channels patients prefer for different tasks and types of care
- Guage preferred settings for care
- Explore innovation trends for at-home and virtual care
- Understand patients’ greatest pain points with their current healthcare experiences
Key findings of the research include:
- To successfully find, connect, and engage patients, an omnichannel approach that incorporates a strategic mix of traditional and digital channels is necessary. Bots, chats, text, email, in-person and other communications now serve unique purposes and must be combined to work effectively together to meet specific needs and preferences along the patient journey. It is paramount that providers and payers have a plan for every channel to simplify service and meet changing patient needs and expectations.
- COVID was the catalyst for an acceleration of investments in new methods of care delivery including phone, video, and at-home care. These methods will continue to have a place in modern healthcare long after the pandemic. Respondents’ most common healthcare setting was a provider’s office yet 38 percent utilized telehealth in the past 18 months, which increased their preference for this delivery model. Now, 51 percent of millennials, as an example, place telehealth in their top three methods of care.
- Ease of use was noted as a barrier to communication. Consumers want easier healthcare experiences; 71 percent said they want their experiences with healthcare providers to be as easy as their brand interactions in other industries. Compounding the issue, 68 percent of respondents said their healthcare providers must improve how they interact with patients.
The Avtex Omnichannel Healthcare Experience Report is a framework for navigating evolving healthcare business models in the experience economy, accelerating financial recovery, and adapting to changing expectations in the post-pandemic era. It can be accessed here.
The report is the second body of research by Avtex, following the company’s Patient Sentiment Report, issued in August 2020, which measured patients’ feelings about consuming care and interacting with providers and payers in the face of COVID.