- Healthcare consumers appear to be increasingly comfortable switching providers when their current one isn’t meeting their needs, according to a report from Accenture.
- About 30% of patients selected a new provider in 2021 — up from 26% in 2017, the report found. A quarter switched providers in 2021 because they were unhappy with their care — up from 18% in 2017.
- Switching providers is especially true among younger generations, like Gen Zers and millennial, who were six times more likely to switch providers than older people, according to the report.
Healthcare consumers delayed routine medical care throughout the first year of the pandemic, then slowly began returning to doctor’s offices as COVID-19 cases eased. Over that period, many consumers also switched providers when they decided their current one wasn’t satisfactory, according to the report.
Access, ease of doing business, digital engagement and trust were the top priorities respondents listed when selecting their provider, according to the report, which includes responses from a survey of 10,000 U.S. consumers between October and November 2021.
Those who switched providers most often cited difficulties navigating their own care experience, listing factors like poor experiences with administrative staff and subpar technologies.
When choosing a new provider, access outweighed all other factors, with patients heavily considering how far a new provider’s office is, if they can get an appointment quickly or during off hours and if telehealth offerings are available, the survey found.
Having a trusted referral source was also important, with 53% of respondents saying it was a top factor when selecting a new provider.
Accenture also looked at differences among consumers choosing health plans in another survey that includes 11,000 respondents taken between March and May of 2022.
When selecting a health plan, younger generations said they valued customer service, convenience and trust over price, with millennials three to five times more likely to value those factors than older adults.
Older adults said they valued price, medical benefits and network coverage most when selecting a health plan.
For those switching health plans, factors like inaccurate or inconsistent information, unanswered questions, poor experiences using digital tools, poor customer services and concerns over personal data sharing drove their decision, followed by benefits and coverage issues, the report found.