Providers and insurance companies are scrambling to adapt to a new landscape fraught with changing government regulations and growing consolidation pressures. But many are so focused on their own survival that they’ve missed the biggest change: consumerism. The same revolution that’s reshaping the way people buy financial services and airline tickets is finally underway in healthcare. Consumers—especially millennials—are unhappy with what they’re getting, and want more control.

For more insight into this power shift and its impact on the healthcare industry, Prophet and GE Healthcare Camden Group dove into the minds of providers and patients in a study titled “The State of Consumer Healthcare: A Study of Patient Experience.”

Here’s what we learned about the patient experience:

[Click here to see the full results of the study]

  • Providers are aware the situation is bad…it’s just worse than they know. Providers are somewhat aware that people aren’t thrilled with their healthcare experience, but our research found an alarming perception gap. About 81 percent of consumers say they are dissatisfied with their healthcare experience, yet providers overestimate the overall quality they give patients by more than 20 percent.

 

  • Gen Y is really unhappy. Discontent is highest among millennials. And while providers often argue that Gen Y has minimal financial impact since younger people are healthier and spend less on healthcare, they also realize these consumers will soon account for 50 percent of the workforce. And payers need the younger, healthier generation as members to ensure they have a diversified and financially healthy member base. It’s simple: This generation has different expectations. They value traditional care less than previous generations, relying more on input from friends and family, and less on their provider. [clicktotweet]Only 28 percent of millennials visit a doctor for existing conditions, compared with 53 percent of Baby Boomers.[/clicktotweet] And just 22 percent of millennials visit a doctor for a new condition, versus 45 percent of older patients. Gen Y also values convenience and digital ease and adores brands like Uber, Starbucks, Zappos and Square that provide it. So companies like ZocDoc, Oscar, and WebMD, which provide health-related solutions people can access on their own terms, are among their favorites. Millennials are also the most open to alternative sources of care, with 73 percent willing to use on-demand medical centers, 64 percent retail clinics, and 52 percent telemedicine.

 

  • Providers struggle to make the case for investing in experience. With companies under enormous financial pressure, it’s very hard to make investing in patient experience a priority. But such investments generate real ROI. Improving patient experience drives increased capacity and access for consumers, creates leverage with payers, and improves efficiency. It also boosts employee retention. And it builds a brand and a reputation that encourages people to consolidate their care within one system, which increases its revenues. By crafting a distinct brand, providers will be able to build an identity special enough that consumers will embrace and be loyal to them. Progress is slow. But the smart healthcare systems are realizing that happy patients are essential to their survival.

Read the complete study hereFor information on how Prophet and GE Healthcare Camden Group can help your organization improve its patient experience, contact us today or view the State of Consumer Healthcare webcast.