What We’re Reading – Top 10 Changes in Patient Expectations (Part II)

Here is a continuation of a good article on patient expectations; below are the top five changes, according to the author.  To view the first half of the article with the bottom five changes, click here.

Expectation #5 — Better Coordinated Care: Between greater cost-sharing and horror stories about duplicate therapies, patients expect their providers to coordinate the care and achieve better outcomes.

Expectation #4 — More Outpatient Procedures:  Most insurance plans incentivize patients to select outpatient procedures over inpatient.  Studies confirm that patients experience better outcomes and report higher satisfaction.  The last of this win-win situation is outpatient settings are less expensive. The author also makes a case for more single-purpose ASCs.

Expectation #3 — New Alternatives to Pay for Care:  Because of the large number of uninsured as well as high deductible plans, innovative payment options are a requirement for today’s patients.  Flexibility that allows patients to seek care for chronic conditions and avoid acute (and costly) exacerbations translates into better health.

Expectation #2 — Customer Service, Technology, and Outcomes:  Since the Internet factors greatly into a patient’s healthcare journey, it stands to reason that a provider’s website can be very useful.  The author encourages providers to go beyond the marketing brochure approach and create a service delivery point.  The second part of this expectation is that patients are increasingly voting with their feet. As patients experience more flexibility of payment, they will gravitate to quality-focused settings where they also feel valued. Finally, the author reminds us that perception is reality and the customer is the judge.  The whippersnapper MDs need to convey experience (especially to us old fogies who don’t think they’re old enough to shave or drive!) while their seasoned counterparts need to impress their patients with command of technology and newer standards of care.

Expectation # 1 — Access to Care: It’s no surprise that accessing care is the main issue for most patients.  Most patients who experience long waits get irritable. If they’re already sick, the outcome can be combustible.  Providers should assess their office flow (or throughput, in newfangled lingo) to make sure services are delivered promptly.  The use of physician extenders (PAs, ARNPs, etc.) are more widely accepted by patients and can alleviate a backlog.

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