What consumers expect from their healthcare experiences is rapidly evolving as disruption and innovation redefine what’s possible. From personalized experiences to digitally enabled care, consumers want more and are willing to look beyond their current provider to find it.
Huron’s recent survey of U.S. healthcare consumers reveals shifting attitudes and preferences for how patients and their families choose healthcare providers and how they perceive their care. From the research, five healthcare consumerism trends emerge:
1. Healthcare consumers want greater digital functionality
Virtual care continues to be a desired option for healthcare consumers. In the last year, 75% of respondents say they’ve participated in a telehealth visit and 84% were satisfied with their experience. Consumers are also seeking digital options beyond how they receive care. More than two-thirds say they want a mobile app to manage the scheduling, communication, and payment of their care. And nearly 75% of consumers are interested in using a wearable device to report health data to their care provider to support their treatment.
2. Patient satisfaction isn’t enough to retain patients
Nearly 80% of respondents report being satisfied with their healthcare. Yet, 70% say they would switch providers for deeper trust and respect. For day-to-day care, more than half of consumers would switch for lower costs, while two-thirds of those with serious medical conditions would switch for shorter wait times. Online ratings, reviews, and comparison tools are the No. 1 source of information when patients are looking for new providers. This is a shift from previous years when provider referrals were the primary decision driver.
3. Quality and satisfaction are largely driven by outcomes
Consumers report that the top driver of both a quality and satisfying experience is accurate diagnosis and treatment plans that get results. Trust and respect also have a significant influence on patient satisfaction and consumers’ perception of a quality experience.
4. Convenience enabled by technology is gaining momentum
Building on the rise of telehealth, consumers are increasingly looking for convenient care options supported by technology. A full 70% of consumers say they’re open to healthcare at home, up from 56% in 2021 and 41% in 2019. Respondents aged 18 to 54 report the highest interest. Virtual care options are a key driver of consumer choice, with more than half of respondents saying they would change providers for superior virtual care offerings.
5. Healthcare affordability is a growing concern for consumers
Survey respondents cite the most serious healthcare challenge today is the ability to afford quality care. As healthcare costs rise, 80% of consumers want to know the cost of a healthcare visit or treatment at the time of service.
How healthcare systems embrace these trends will look different for every organization. Gaining a deeper understanding of the unique needs, behaviors, and attitudes of the individuals that an organization serves is fundamental to generating better care experiences and patient outcomes. Leaders who use these insights to inform and prioritize strategic investments in how they transform care delivery will have a greater impact on patient loyalty and organizational growth.