Choosing a provider is one of the most critical and often complex decisions individuals make about their or their family’s healthcare. Thanks to the Internet and unprecedented access to information, individuals can be much more informed when it comes to finding and choosing the right provider, but it can be overwhelming and inefficient to comb through online search results and pages of provider directories.
Here’s four things that people care most about when searching for a new doctor:
Physicians with years of experience and who receive ongoing training and certifications can ensure that care remains high quality no matter what service is provided.
Extensive research shows that mistrust of healthcare providers and the healthcare system results in worse health outcomes.1 To address health disparities effectively, health insurance providers must therefore find ways to build and increase trust with the diverse communities they serve. Virtual care partners can play a key role in supporting these efforts by strengthening and enhancing the patient-provider relationship.
By leveraging virtual care, health plans can provide convenient access to high quality care for vulnerable populations. Because it transcends traditional limitations imposed by brick and mortar models around geography and set office hours, virtual care can expand access in multiple ways. This can include providing specialty care that may be unavailable in rural regions, enhancing care between visits with a multidisciplinary team, and increasing referrals or preventive screenings consistent with USPSTF guidelines.
4. Culturally Affirming
Studies have shown that patients who share the same race or ethnicity as their physician experience greater trust, satisfaction, utilization of services, and involvement in decision making.2 Historically, however, the lack of diversity among American doctors makes it especially challenging for people from underrepresented communities to find providers with whom they identify. For example, although Black people represent nearly 13% of the U.S. population, only 5.4% of doctors are Black; moreover, the proportion of Black doctors has increased by only 4 percentage points over the last 120 years.
Health plans should strive for networks of competent, compassionate, diverse providers so members of all backgrounds, beliefs, ethnicities, and perspectives are adequately represented. It’s about providing the best possible care for all. For these reasons, Included Health has made significant investments in growing what is arguably one of the most diverse virtual care provider networks in the country.
The right virtual care partner can check off many of the boxes your members are looking for in a provider and ensure that every one of your members has access to high-quality medical and behavioral healthcare.
Distrust of the Health Care System and Self-Reported Health in the United States, Journal of general internal medicine (July 1, 2020)
Study Finds Patients Prefer Doctors Who Share THeir Same Race/Ethnicity, Penn Medicine (July 1, 2020)